2018 Youth Heritage Celebration

2018 Youth Heritage Celebration2018-10-16T13:23:52+00:00

“Lest We Forget”

October 18-20, 2018
Battle Creek, Michigan

Online Registration has closed. If you missed online registration, you can register for seminars before they begin when you arrive in Battle Creek.

Look How You Brought Us
by: Dana C. Edmond

A look at the history of the Black Seventh-day Adventist Church.  It will address the history of Regional Conference in the Seventh-day Adventist Church-how they came about and whether they are still necessary today.

Discovering Your Spiritual Roots
by Mark Sorensen

Every family has a story of how their family came to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord. For some families, the journey is a short one. For others, the story is long and filled with God leading them into truth through the years. This workshop will give you practical ideas and tips you can use to discover your Spiritual Roots and preserve your story.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn practical tips on discovering your Spiritual roots. How to begin.
  • Learn of resources available to help you piece together your family history.
  • Get ideas on saving your family story so it is not lost for others to enjoy.
  • Learn how to share your story with family and friends to inspire others to get to know Jesus as their friend.

Your Sabbath School Heritage
by: Gary Swanson

An interactive presentation of the origins of Sabbath School in the Seventh-day Adventist church and their involvement with youth.

Historian Ministry in your Conference
By: Dixie Plata

Saving our history and sharing what we learn is an important role for each Conference Historian. Together we are strong, our information is up to date and correct. Our leaders and our youth will be able to learn how God has led and continues to lead in the lives of young people.

Faithful Unto Death
By: Cindy Tutsch

Join our virtual Reformation Tour of Italy and immerse yourself in the heartbreaking yet faith-building story of the Waldenses on Mount Casteluzo. As religious aggression similarly subverts the liberties of our nation, those who would stand for freedom of conscience will also need the courage found only in Jesus.

Help! I’m giving Bibles studies to a Teen!
By: Craig Harris

This seminar gives fundamental principles of effectively giving a Bible study to youth. Simple, practical communication tips, stories, and a review of many of the Bible Study materials available through the ABC. This will fulfill the Leading a Young Person to Christ requirement in the Master Guide curriculum.

Heritage of Adventist Camping in North America
By: Bill Wood

This workshop will review the history of SDA camping in North America from the very beginning to what is happening today. It has been estimated that there is a total of 1.2 billion dollars invested in our camps in North America. Studies will show the impact that camps have on the overall evangelistic outreach here in North America.

Tours run daily, times vary – please check the schedule.

  • Federal Building, Old Battle Creek Sanitarium
    By Sign Up ONLY because everyone must have a security clearance to enter the building.
  • Adventist Heritage Village
  • Cemetery

Outreach activities will happen Friday & Sabbath afternoon. Details will be coming soon.

Adventist Youth Ministries Museum is not responsible for making your hotel/camping reservation, please call the Hotel/Camp Grounds directly.


  • Baymont Inn & Suites
    4725 Beckley Rd. Battle Creek, MI 49015
  • Baymont Inn
    182 W. Van Buren St. Battle Creek, MI 49017
  • Courtyard Marriott
    12891 Harper Village Dr.
    Battle Creek, MI 49014
  • Fairfield Inn
    4665 Beckley Rd. Battle Creek, MI 49015
  • Holiday Inn
    12812 Harper Village Dr.
    Battle Creek, MI 49014
  • McCamley Plaza Hotel
    50 Capital Ave. SW
    Battle Creek, MI 49017

Area Camp Grounds

  • Battle Creek Academy (No Electric)
    480 Parkway Dr. Battle Creek, MI 49037
  • Calhoun County Fairground
    720 Fair St. PO Box 311 Marshall, MI 49068
    (email: calhounfair@ad.com)
  • Fort Custer Recreation Area
    5163 W. Fort Custer Dr. State Hwy M-96
    Augusta, MI 49012
  • Hide Away Family Camping
    21901  2 Mile Rd.
    Battle Creek, MI 49017

Meals will be available by pre-purchase only for:

  • Thursday – Supper
  • Friday – Lunch & Supper
  • Sabbath – Lunch & Supper
  • Sunday – Breakfast

You can purchase your meals through the Adventist Village APP.

All meals will be served in the Adventist Heritage Village.

Schedule of Events

AYM Museum Displays will be open in the Red Barn at the Adventist Heritage Village Thursday – Saturday

Thursday – Theme – “Lest We Forget Our Heritage”


  • Federal Building – Old Battle Creek Sanitarium – By Sign Up ONLY by Oct. 4th!
  • Adventist Heritage Village from 10 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Cemetery – all day

AYM Museum Displays in the Red Barn – 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

6:00 p.m.  Supper – by ticket, which can be purchased from the link under the Meals tab. 

7:00 p.m. General Meeting at Battle Creek Tabernacle – Speaker: Vandeon Griffin – NAD Associate Youth Director

Friday – Theme – “Lest We Forget Our Youth Today”

Devotional – 8:15 a.m. in the Village – TENT – Armando Miranda – NAD Associate Youth Director

Seminars – 9:15 a.m. & 10:45 a.m.

  • Mark Sorensen presenting “Discovering Your Spiritual Roots”
  • Gary Swanson presenting “Your Sabbath School Heritage”
  • Dana Edmond presenting “Look How You Brought Us” 
  • Dixie Plata presenting “Historian Ministry in your Conference”
  • Cindy Tutsch presenting “Faithful Unto Death”
  • Craig Harris presenting “Help! I’m giving Bible studies to a Teen!”
  • Bill Wood presenting “Heritage of Adventist Camping in North America”

12:15 p.m. – Lunch – by ticket


  • Federal Building – Old Battle Creek Sanitarium – ALL DAY – Sign Up ONLY by Oct. 4th!
  • Adventist Heritage Village – after seminars until 5:00 p.m.
  • Cemetery – after seminars until 5:00 p.m.

AYM Museum Displays in the Red Barn – 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Outreach – activities will take place Friday Afternoon

6:00 p.m. – Supper – by ticket

7:00 p.m. General Meeting at Battle Creek Tabernacle – Merlin Burt – White Estate – Andrews University

Sabbath – Theme – “Lest We Forget Our Mission”

9:00 a.m. – Sabbath School at Battle Creek Tabernacle

  • Report by Andres Peralta – GC Assoc. Youth Director
  • Lesson Study by Gary Swanson – Former GC Sabbath School Director

11:00 a.m. Worship Service at Battle Creek Tabernacle

  • Speaker – Dan Matthews – Former “Faith For Today” Speaker & Director

12:30 p.m. – Lunch by ticket in the village


  • Adventist Heritage Village – 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Cemetery – Afternoon

AYM Museum Displays in the Red Barn – 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Outreach – activities will take place on Sabbath Afternoon

6:00 p.m. – Supper – by ticket

7:00 p.m. – Sabbath Evening Vespers – in the Village – TENT

  • Speaker – Cindy Tutsch – Former GC White Estate
  • Future Plans – Leo Ranzolin & Terry Dodge


8:00 a.m. – Breakfast by ticket

Speaker & Presenter Bios

Photo of Merlin D. Burt Merlin D. Burt Speaker

Merlin D. Burt is the director of the Center for Adventist Research and White Estate Branch Office at Andrews University, and professor of Church History at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary. He has been with the Ellen G. White Estate since 1993, first at the Loma Linda Branch Office and then at Andrew University. He has published many articles and chapters in different periodicals and books and often serves variously as speaker, editor, and organizer for conferences, symposiums, and tours. In 2011 he authored Adventist Historical Places: New York and New England and is editor of the 2015 book Understanding Ellen White for the Ellen G. White Estate. Previous to his academic and administrative appointments he served as a pastor in Ohio and California in the United States. He and his wife Sarah, have three adult children and three grandchildren.

Photo of Dana Edmond Dana Edmond Presenter
Photo of Pastor Vandeon Griffin Pastor Vandeon Griffin Speaker

Pastor Vandeon Griffin was born in Greenville, MS. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theology from Oakwood University in May of 2001, and attended Andrews University Theological Seminary where he completed his Masters of Divinity degree in July 2003. Pastor Griffin has served as the Youth Pastor, senior pastor, and departmental director including Youth Director for the South Central Conference for 10 years and President of BAYDA (Black Adventist Youth Director Association) for 7 years. Currently, Pastor Griffin serves as the Associate Youth/Young Adult Director for the North American Division—Columbia, MD. He is married to the former Kimberly Tinson and they have a daughter Kalin K. Griffin who is attending Madison Adventist Academy. Pastor Griffin has a passion to see people on fire for the Lord, doing what he has called us all to do “be a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come Matt. 24:14.”

Photo of Craig Harris Craig Harris Speaker
Photo of Dan Matthews Dan Matthews Speaker

Currently, Matthews is a part-time Associate Pastor for Senior care with Loma Linda University Church. Prior to the present assignment and occasional involvement with ministries like Gospel Outreach and His Kids Inc, Dan served as Speaker-Director for Faith For Today Television and was creator/executive producer of Lifestyle Magazine at the Adventist Media Center from 1980 to 1999. Before full-time media ministry, Matthews was Executive Secretary for the Potomac Conference. Pastoral ministry began in 1958 in the Washington Conference with a transfer to the Oregon Conference in 1967 for pastoral ministry followed by media and public relations until 1974 with the move to Potomac Conference. Dan is a graduate of Walla Walla University and Potomac University prior to the Seventh-day Adventist Seminary transfer to Andrews University. Dan and Betsy (Neufeld) Matthews are the parents of three sons, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. They live in Glendora, California to be as near family as possible. 

Photo of Armando Miranda Jr. Armando Miranda Jr. Speaker

Armando Miranda Jr. currently serves as the Youth director for Club Ministries of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. He was born and raised in Mexico, but has lived half of his life here in the United States. He finished his BA in Theology in Southwestern Adventist University in 2003 and his Masters in Divinity in 2007 at Andrews University. He pastored in Texas for nine years before serving as Associate Youth Director at the Texas Conference for over two years. He loves to work with leaders and more specifically with youth! He enjoys a good soccer game and recently has picked up mountain biking. His vision is to see many young people in the kingdom of Heaven.

Photo of Dr. Andrés Peralta Dr. Andrés Peralta Speaker

Dr. Andrés Peralta is an evangelist and passionate leader who empowers children, youth and young adults to grow in Christ, and look to Jesus as their ultimate example while practicing servant leadership. He has served as University Campus Ministries Director, Volunteer Hospital Chaplain, local Church Pastor, Conference youth director and Union youth director. Currently he serves as the World Pathfinder Director for the General Conference. He also serves as Police Chaplain and Navy Reserve Chaplain in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Peralta is the author of “Change the World”, co-authored of the “Loving Father” a small group Bible study for young adults and his latest book called “Jesus Dream Team”. He has hosted “Melodies of Hope” on Esperanza TV and he is recording for TV program called “Promises.” He was the youngest Conference and Union youth director in NAD and now he is the youngest World Pathfinder director. In 2016, he was awarded the NAD “Youth Ministry Excellence” award. He is married to his best friend, confidant and partner in ministry, Martha. This union of 16 years has been blessed with their precious daughter, Melany. He enjoys traveling, running, swimming reading and spending time with his family.

Photo of Dixie Plata Dixie Plata Presenter

Dixie Plata has been involved in Pathfindering since she joined a club, as a Pathfinder, in Upper Columbia Conference in Washington State. As a staff member she has held numerous club positions including: instructor, counselor, secretary, deputy director and director. Dixie and her husband Arnold were Conference Area Coordinators as well as Teen Coordinators in Southeastern California Conference and District Coordinators for the Oregon Conference. Together they coordinated volunteers for the Rose Parade Float Decorating for the Seventh-day Adventist church for 3 years then continued organizing Pathfinder volunteers to decorate six additional floats for the Pasadena, California New Year’s Day Rose Parade. Their love of God and His young people has led them to collect and share Pathfinder Memorabilia through displays and seminars. They became NAD Youth Ministry Historians in 1989 and are currently also the Coordinators for the North American Division Youth Ministries Historian Ministry. Her hobbies include traveling to share Pathfinder stories and search for materials for the traveling displays of the Adventist Youth Ministries Museum. She enjoys photography, genealogy, and their precious grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Photo of Mark Sorenson Mark Sorenson Presenter

Mark was inspired by a Great Aunt to finish the work she had started in discovering our family’s spiritual roots. It started with a picture taken 1897 and handwritten letter talking about how the family came into the Adventist Church. This journey has taken him all over the country in a quest to learn more. Mark has served the church with over 38 years in Pathfinders and Adventures. He and his wife Beverly have been married for 45 years, and have 3 children, and 4 grandchildren. Mark is a retired executive from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co and currently live in Apopka, Florida. Mark and Beverly are currently members of the Forest Lake SDA church and active in the church’s music ministry.

Photo of Gary B. Swanson Gary B. Swanson Speaker

Elder Gary B. Swanson, now retired, served for ten years as associate director of the Department of Sabbath School and Personal Ministries of the General Conference. Prior to this he worked 15 years as editor of CQ, formerly Collegiate Quarterly, and for seven years editor of Listen magazine. In the past 35 years, Swanson has conducted workshops around the world in creative writing and techniques to improve Sabbath School learning. With nine years’ classroom experience as a high school teacher, he has a master’s degree in education. He has had more than 1,700 articles, stories, and poems published in 150 Christian periodicals. A winner of 12 international writing awards, he has authored six books for youth and young adults. He and his wife, Suzette, celebrated their golden anniversary last September. They have two sons and five grandchildren.

Photo of Dr. Cindy Tutsch Dr. Cindy Tutsch Speaker

Cindy Tutsch, DMin, retired as an Associate Director of the Ellen G. White Estate.  She has served as an academy Bible teacher, pastor, conference youth director, television host, and student literature-evangelism director. Dr. Tutsch and her husband, Ulrich, especially enjoy outdoor recreation with their children and grandchildren. 

Photo of Bill Wood Bill Wood Presenter