The Pacific Northwest is world-renowned for its natural forest beauty. Several million acres of trees stretch north from Oregon, creating an ecosystem of natural wonder that people from all over the globe travel here to explore. If you’ve ever walked into the forest, you may have noticed the beautiful plans God put into place to keep the trees alive. Even in a world of sin and death, everything that passes away is completely given over to creating new life and a new iteration of the forest than has ever existed before. Even in something as unthinkable as death we find new life.
People, however, are not trees. We have the ability to move ourselves from place to place, to choose the relationships we allow into our lives, and, ultimately, how we want our bodies and our loved ones to be cared for when we are laid to rest to await Jesus’ soon return. Although the topic of our own death can be hard to think about, putting intentional plans in place in case of unforeseen tragedy is one of the ways we can show love long after we pass from this Earth.
The Oregon Conference Planned Giving and Trust Services department is a ministry created to help educate people on end-of-life planning, and is a vital service in helping to continue God’s mission in the Oregon Conference territory. Director Tim Peterson took up his responsibilities in this role just five years ago after serving in a similar capacity in the Washington Conference. “When I got the opportunity to come down and see how this department worked, I thought, ‘Wow, this is a place I’d like to go to!’ It was very well organized,” he said. Tim shared that the primary responsibilities of the department are to help people put together legal documents such as wills and trusts, as well as covering the associated fees for those services.
Tim shared that the process for putting these plans into place is fairly simple, “Anyone 18 or older can connect with us through the conference website or give us a phone call. Typically, we will want to set up an appointment with them here at the conference office or in their home. We want to find out what people are interested in doing, what their needs are, and whether they just need to update their plans or start from scratch.”
Taking as much of the fear, apprehension, and grief out of the process is an important part of Tim and the rest of the team’s mission. Having legal plans in place long before they are needed can help alleviate much of the added stress surrounding an already devastating situation––the loss of a loved one.
Over the years, many individuals have generously included Big Lake Youth Camp, Adventist schools, churches, and many other Oregon Conference ministries in their end-of-life planning, fostering new life and mission work in this area. Much like the Pacific Northwest forests, God finds a way to use even something as heartbreaking as death to create life and hope.
If you are thinking about putting your own estate plans into place, the Planned Giving and Trust Services department is here to help. You can contact director Tim Peterson directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give them a call at the Oregon Conference office during business hours at 503-850-3500.