John Thomas, Director

John Thomas

At the last General Conference Session, John was asked to serve as an Associate Secretary of the General Conference directing the AVS program. He was serving as the Associate Director of Union Colleges International Rescue and Relief four year degree program. Prior to that he served as a boarding academy principal for 23 years including four years at Maxwell Adventist Academy in Kenya. His family has a long history of mission service in Africa.

While in college he often volunteered to open the conference youth camp on winter weekends for church groups. After starting to teach he began organizing and planning short term mission trips in the US and internationally. Over the years he has organized or participated in over thirty short term volunteer projects. He has also used many student missionaries at the various academies he administered.

He looks forward to molding the AVS program to serve the growing and changing needs of the volunteer and world field. He believes that true meaning in life comes from servicing others.

Candace Renk, Volunteer Coordinator


Candace had her first taste of the volunteer program while she was attending Walla Walla College. She decided to take a year out of her studies to be a volunteer at a local conference. During that year, she had the opportunity to go on a conference-led mission trip to build a church in Kenya, Africa. During this amazing mission experience, she felt impressed that someday she would be a missionary somewhere in the world.

After graduating from college, she had a second encounter with the volunteer program. She began working through the GC application process to be a volunteer in Cambodia for two years. This experience changed her life tremendously and she highly recommends volunteer work. If a person accepts the challenge to be a volunteer, there are two things she advises: Expect to be molded by God and flexibility is key!

Candace returned home to the States after completing her mission service and began working in a local conference, all the while praying that she could somehow be involved with the volunteer program. She had the opportunity to work in the NAD Volunteer Department in April 2001 as the International Volunteers Coordinator, during which time she had a close working relationship with the GC AVC team. Because of this, it seemed like a natural fit to join the AVC team on April 30, 2007, and she continues to enjoy assisting others in their vision of serving Christ as a volunteer in another part of the world.

Sarah Kannanaikkel, Administrative Assistant/Associate Volunteer Coordinator/Editorial Assistant

Sarah Kannanaikkel

Sarah joined Adventist Volunteer Service in July, 2010.  She serves as an Associate Volunteer Coordinator and is very excited to be able to work with volunteers.  By assisting volunteers, she feels that she is a part of spreading God�s message of salvation to the world.

She also loves working as an Editorial Assistant of the Mission Post magazine, collecting stories and experiences of volunteers all over the world.  She is inspired by their stories and wishes to serve as a volunteer herself, one day.

She enjoys reading, learning languages, spending time with friends and family, and she hopes to be able to travel frequently in the future.

Joanne Stango, Associate Volunteer Coordinator

Joanne joined the Adventist Volunteer Center in September, 2003. Her first position at the General Conference was coordinating evangelistic teams going to Russia. She's excited to be working with volunteers again having been in the Ministerial Association for almost 8 years. It's a privilege to be part of the team at the AVC assisting those willing to serve Jesus.

She is enjoying being married to Michael and loves spending time with her son Daniel. She enjoys going home to Vermont to visit family and friends as often as possible and likes to scrapbook, playing the guitar and reading.

Donna Rodill, Senior Editorial Assistant/Web Maintenance

Donna Rodill

Donna joined the Adventist Volunteer Center in January, 2001. She serves the AVC as editorial production manager and layout and design of the Mission Post magazine and maintains the website. She has worked at the General Conference since 1988.

She enjoys hiking, camping, singing, playing the guitar and doing various arts and crafts. She has two daughters, Jennifer and Amanda.