A Generous Gift for Evangelistic Outreach

On Sabbath December 13, 2014 Trust Services Director Lin Powell presented a large check to Treasurer Jerry Wilkey, First Elder Ken Gould, and Pastor Dennis Altrogge.  The check in the amount of $210,560.98 for evangelistic outreach in the Paducah area represented the largest known gift to a Kentucky-Tennessee Conference church designated for that purpose.

Pastor Altrogge and the Paducah members are excited about the many opportunities that they will have to grow the kingdom of God in their local territory through this generous gift.  They are already discussing plans for using it wisely for the greatest  benefit and blessing over an extended period of time.

The extraordinary gift was made possible through the proceeds of the last will and testament of long-time Paducah member Gertrud Schramm who contacted our Trust Services Department for assistance in preparing her estate plan. We invite you to contact us to see how we can assist you in carrying out your wishes concerning  the settling of your estate at your death in regards to your family and for the Lord’s work as you desire.

Recording The Past And Planning For The Future

Born in 1925 in lovely Moreland, Lincoln County, Kentucky, Myrtle Rucker Carroll was the youngest of seven siblings born to Saint Clair and Hattie Morgan Rucker.  She and her family enjoyed the richness of rural living in a quieter time.

After graduation from Moreland High School and business school, Myrtle was employed in retail and banking businesses in several cities including Detroit, Nashville and Tampa where she retired.

She relocated to Middle Tennessee to help with the care of an ailing older sister and settled in Portland where she enjoyed the fellowship of the Adventist family of believers surrounding Highland Academy and the nearby Adventist churches.  In no time this friendly lady was well connected with the community becoming known as “Miss Myrtle” by her many friends at businesses and organizations. The years she spent volunteering at the hospital were perhaps her greatest outreach to the public.

One of Myrtle’s greatest passions was the documentation of the history of the Rucker and Morgan families.  She was widely known for her expertise in collecting pictures, dates and other valuable family information.

After moving to Tennessee, Myrtle sought the assistance of the Conference Trust Services Department to prepare her last will and testament, a trust and other important documents.  She carefully planned a way for her earthly possessions to be passed on for the benefit of her beloved Highland Church, the ministries of the Kentucky- Tennessee Conference, the family burial place in her hometown in Kentucky and for family heirlooms, including the family history she had compiled, to be passed on to hands that would protect them for future generations.  As carefully as Myrtle, during her life, chronicled her family’s history, she did her utmost to support the future of the Lord’s after her death.

We invite you to contact us for an opportunity to assist you in developing your estate plan.

Kentucky-Tennessee Conference Trust Services Department

A Daughter Returns to Her Heavenly Father

“So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”  Luke 15:20

Sharon Sandefur was born in 1956 in Lincoln, Nebraska into a family of two boys.  Her parents loved the Lord and wanted to be sure their kids were raised in a Christian school and so she went to Adventist schools all the way through High School:  Mile High Academy and two years at Campion Boarding Academy.   She also attended Union College after graduating from academy.

Sharon started working for a company that leased and rented apartments and during that time, she drifted away from attending church and didn’t have a strong walk with the Lord.  During those times her dad recalls that in his talks he would gently ask her: “Is there anything I can do to encourage your walk with Christ?” but was always mindful not to push her in any way.  Sharon’s answers to these talks were: “I won’t come back until I give my whole heart to God” and “I’ll probably go to an evangelistic meeting if Mark Finley ever comes to town.”

After several years she moved to Orlando to work in the accounting department of an orthopedic clinic and she met a young man named Ted Williams that she fell in love with.  As their courtship progressed she mentioned that she wanted to be married in the Adventist church.  Her father told her that if she wanted to be married in an Adventist church to a non-believer she couldn’t do it and so Ted came to Sharon’s father and wanted to do whatever was necessary to marry Sharon.  He took Bible studies from the local pastor there in Orlando and accepted Christ into his heart and was baptized at the church.  Three weeks later, Sharon and Ted were married at the Adventist church.  After they were married though, they discontinued attending church much and from what Sharon had shared with me, lived a very worldly life.

15 years into their marriage, Ted had a motorcycle accident and wasn’t able to work in his job as the head of the bakery department in the Florida Hospital anymore.  Sharon stepped into the care-giver role and attended to his needs for several years until his death in 2011.  During that time, Mark Finley came to Orlando to hold evangelistic meetings and Sharon’s father reminded her of the somewhat empty promise she had made to him some time ago about attending meetings held by Mark Finley.  Sharon and Ted both made the decision to follow her father’s invitation and during the meetings they gave their “whole heart” to the Lord and were later re-baptized at Highland Academy during the 2010 Kentucky-Tennessee Conference camp meeting where they had moved to be closer to family.

The Highland SDA Church was a nurturing and kind church whose attention and love towards Ted and Sharon compelled them to grow in their faith and also become involved in the church.  Sharon volunteered to teach music and choir at the Highland Elementary School and sang in the choir at church and played the piano and organ.

In 2002, Sharon had fought off breast cancer successfully but when it returned in 2013 it had invaded her whole system and she couldn’t recover.

Her last words to her dad, who was by her side when she passed away, were:  “I really love Jesus.”

When I met with Sharon during camp meeting of 2013 to work on her estate planning documents, she told me that she was going to die.  I was impressed by her peace and strength that she exuded.   She wanted to be sure that a trusted family member would handle her estate and that her family and local church at Highland was going to be remembered in her Last Will and Testament.

Just like Sharon Williams took advantage of our services, we invite you to contact us for an opportunity to assist you in developing your own personal estate plan here at the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference Trust Services Department.

A tribute to Bill & Fern Hampton

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven”  Matthew 5:16

 I first met Bill and Fern Hampton when I, a Baptist teen, attended the Pewee Valley Seventh-dayAdventist Church with my Adventist girlfriend (now my wife of 39 years, Sandy).

People were friendly, the mission story and Sabbath School lesson were inspiring, I felt God’s presence in the worship service and I could tell there would be a communion service because the table was prepared.

Everything went fine until, at the end of the pastor’s sermonette, he invited the congregation to participate in the Ordinance of Humility, the foot washing service.  People began to leave the sanctuary for a reason I didn’t understand.  I’m sure I was standing there with eyes that looked like a deer caught in the headlights.  That’s when Bill stepped into my world to begin a relationship that would last as long as he and Fern lived.  Bill explained the beautiful, Christ-ordained service to me and led me through it in a meaningful way that I have attempted to emulate many times since with new or prospective believers.  It was as if he had had the same experience as I was having and knew just what to say.

Bill and Fern met at the Pewee Valley Sanitarium and Hospital near Louisville, Kentucky, during the depression years.  Bill’s youngest sister had run up a large bill at the hospital.  The Hamptons, like many depression-era families, were short on cash but long on character.  Bill, in his early twenties, was working at the “San” to pay off the obligation.  Fern came to Pewee Valley as a young church school teacher and later worked in the administration office of the San.

Thus began a nearly ten-year Christian courtship between the two.  You see, Bill was a staunch Methodist and Fern a committed Seventh-day Adventist who loved Bill but would not marry someone outside of her faith.

Finally Fern, Bill’s personal God-sent evangelist, led him to the faith and when Bill joined the church he went all the way and never looked back.  He served the Pewee Valley Church in many capacities, including first elder for some thirty years.  Fern was also a local church leader, including church clerk.

Bill and Fern married in 1941.  They did not have children of their own but were the spiritual nurturers of many of us through the decades.  They shared Christian literature and scores of sermon and music tapes, literature and they were a blessing to folks in the church as well as the community.  Only the Lord knows the far-reaching extent of their influence.

Through the years Bill became a prominent building contractor who was very respected in the community.  One of Bill’s greatest building accomplishments was his leadership, in his seventies, as the volunteer general contractor for the new church building at PeweeValley in 1980-81.

Some years ago, Bill and Fern called me to their home with the purpose of updating their Last Will and Testament and other estate planning documents.  Having no children, they felt led by God to leave all of their assets to His work at their death.  Along with their wills, they created Power of Attorney and Living Will documents that named trusted Adventist friends to help them with their business and healthcare needs as they aged.

As time went by, these long-livers (Fern died at age 87 and Bill at age 93) suffered major health challenges and their financial resources were depleting.  From a human standpoint, there was not much left to show for their lives of labor, but throughout their lives they had lived the principle that we are to store up our treasure in heaven.  They always returned a faithful tithe and gave generous and sacrificial offerings and helped a multitude of people during their lifetime.  In fact, some of the older PeweeValley members vividly remember how each year during the Week of Prayer and Sacrifice Bill and Fern would challenge the church to join them in giving a week’s income to the special offering.

Bill and Fern went to sleep in Jesus just a few months apart in 2004.  According to the terms of their wills, what was left of their assets went partly to their local church at a time it was much needed and partly to the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference to be used as needed for the Lord’s work.  Although the dollar amount would not seem all that significant by the world’s standards, I am sure that to the Lord it was regarded with the same significance as the widow’s mite.  These dear ones made God first in their lives, and the Lord supplied all their needs right up to the end of their lives.

Truly: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”  Matthew 6:33

Lin Powell, Trust Services Director   and  One of Bill and Fern’s “Kids”


Kentucky-Tennessee Advance

Kentucky-Tennessee Advance is the offering that helps to support the financial life-blood of our conference’s mission.  The illustration shows how the Kentucky-Tennessee Advance offering is distributed among four important ministries of this conference as voted in a conference constituency meeting.

Thelma Johnson’s Generous Gift

Thelma Johnson taught second grade at Madison Campus Elementary School for several years.  Many of the current members of the Madison Campus Seventh-day Adventist Church as well as members of numerous other Adventist churches throughout North America remember their teacher, Thelma Johnson, fondly.

Thelma and her husband, Reed, planned to remember the Lord’s work in their estate plan.  After Reed’s death in 1999, her family encouraged Thelma to leave a major portion of her estate to the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference for the benefit of the MadisonCampusElementary School—the school she loved so much.

As a result, more than $98,000.00 came to the Madison Campus Elementary School at exactly the time it was needed most—while the church was building a new school.  Those monies were used to upgrade the gym floor, to add bathrooms to the 3rd and 4th grade classrooms, and to expand and remodel the kitchen.

Now, every school day, the students of the Madison Campus Elementary School benefit from Thelma Johnson’s generous gift.

If any of our members would like to learn more about how to follow the example of Thelma Johnson you may call the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference Trust Services Office for assistance with your estate planning.

A Faithful Steward

byPastor Bob Wint, who serves the Clarksville, Hopkinsville and Oak Grove Churches


Mary was in her late 70s when I visited her. Her church attendance had been very sporadic yet she seemed to enjoy the fellowship and worship. When I greeted her Sabbath after church I happened to ask her why we did not see her more often. She began to cry and said “Pastor I need to talk to you. Can you stop by this week?”

When I visited her she got right to the point. “Something is bothering me and I’m afraid I’m going to be lost. Pastor I cannot tithe and I feel so guilty. I love the church and the people, but I feel so ashamed because I do not tithe and seldom give offerings.”  With tears in her eyes she told me she was sure she could not go to heaven because it was impossible for her to do God’s will.

She told me that a pastor had said because of her circumstances God did not expect her to tithe. But she said, “I still feel so guilty. What do you think Pastor?”  What I said was, “my opinion is no better than yours. Let’s look at what God says.” I turned to Mal. 3:8-12 and we read it together. She then asked me if I expected her to tithe and give offerings and not pay some of her bills or go without food.

She then began to show me her check book and explain that her monthly expenses were over $900.00 and her income was only slightly over $800.00. In addition to this she had gone to a payday loan company and had borrowed $400.00. Because she could not pay on time she now owed almost $1,000.00. Her debt was growing faster than her repayment. She told me she tried to get a job but her poor health caused her to lose it.  “Now,” she asked, “where is the money for my tithe and offerings?” I pointed to the income amount we had written down when we were doing the math of her impossible balance sheet. I told her to take it off the top, God’s money first.

I explained to her that it was not my words we had read but God’s and that He has said “Prove Me”. In other words: put Him to the test and find out if God can take care of you when you are obedient.  She said “Pastor I’m going to do it when my check comes this month” and she did. She came to prayer meeting and gave me her tithe envelope and asked me to turn it in for her as she was afraid she would lose courage and spend it.

That month her daughter sent her some money. Her grandson began sending her money every month. She never told them what she was doing, but God must have. The church took care of her pay day loan and she never failed to pay her bills or buy groceries. She began to praise God for His faithfulness and tell how He was rewarding her faith. She is now in her late 80’s and has, through a series of God’s blessings,  more than twice her former income. She is faithful in tithe and generous in offerings and has taken many opportunities to give to others.  She finds joy in sharing her testimony and has thanked me over and over for not telling her it would be alright not to tithe in her financial circumstances. “Prove Me” God said and she did!


In Death As In Life

by Lin Powell, Trust Director

Lillian Vesta Brown-Johnson (1914 – 2008) was a true Adventist southern belle.  A third generation Seventh-day Adventist, Lillian gave a lifetime of dedicated service to her church’s mission of taking the gospel to all the world.

She valued her heritage:  her family had a part in founding the Elam Road Seventh-day Adventist Church in Murfreesboro, TN, and she was proud of her family’s deep American roots traced back to the American Revolution.  Her community knew her as a committed Adventist Christian who was active in charitable and historical civic organizations. She was an accomplished genealogist and author of four books.

A faithful Christian steward in life, Lillian was determined to be faithful to the Lord in death.  With the assistance of our Trust Services Department, she prepared her estate with a well-planned distribution to family and friends and civic charities, as well as to her home church, media ministries, foreign missions, Adventist education and the ministries of the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference.  Only in heaven will Lillian know the full extent of her support of the work of the Lord.

I invite you to contact our office for assistance in modeling an estate plan unique to your wishes which may include a last will and testament with guardianship provisions for  minor children, a trust, a charitable gift annuity, a financial power of attorney and a health care directive/living will all drafted by an experience attorney.

Gospel Roots – The Elbie Kittinger Story

by: Lin Powell, KY-TN Conference Trust Services Director

Elbie Kittinger was raised in the Calhoun and Rumsey Kentucky area, two towns connected by one of the few bridges on the Green River. This part of Kentucky is in the Western Coal Fields Region and has a reputation for excellent agricultural production. Wherever Elbie lived, he never forgot Kentucky.

During World War II, he served his country as a medic in the United States Army. While stationed in England, the Lord led him to truth-filled books that planted the gospel seeds and were nurtured by the Holy Spirit for several years.

After receiving a medical discharge from the Army, he moved to New Jersey and married Rachel Locke; they had two children. Elbie had a gift for growing things and eventually worked in the grounds department of Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey.

Elbie never forgot the truths he learned as a young soldier, so he earnestly shared his thoughts with Rachel. They studied with a Seventh-day Adventist church member and eventually joined God’s remnant church. Elbie and Rachel/s daughter recently told us that her parents loved the Lord and His church and liked to sit on the very front row during services.

Elbie and Rachel loved their church very much. They decided to seek the assistance of the Conference Trust Services Deparment, and in their estate plan they remember the Lord’s work. Consequently, a portion of their estate was designated for gospel outreach in Kentucky’s Appalachian region.

If you feel like Brother and Sister Kittinger that the Lord is leading for you to give a portion of your estate to fund the Great GOspel Commission given to us by Christ in Matthew 28, we at the Conference Trust Services Department would count it as a privilege to assist you.