|My view of Pike's Peak while hiking in Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs CO|
Since I last wrote, I have settled in Colorado and hit the ground running (well, walking and bicycling mostly). I am happy to be working with a database again as well as doing local outreach.
Goodbye Washington, hello Colorado – The Hispanic SDB church in Auburn gave me a wonderful going away supper, then we all went to family gym night at a nearby school. This is such a creative ministry idea to involve families from the community as well as from the church. Friendships are built and people are helped on their journey to Jesus.
I also bid farewell to my line dancing buddies after nearly two years with them. Many were women of faith and we continue to lift each other up in prayer.
In mid-January I packed up the car and drove south through Oregon (unplanned stop for car repair and the Lord provided a Christian mechanic!), and California (with stops to visit friends), to Kingman, Arizona, to visit with the folks where I first served 4 ½ years ago. The Kingdom of God church is doing well, praise the Lord! They do a food distribution each Friday, offering to pray with people as well. I was especially thankful to my friend and former neighbor, Mona, for hosting me in her home for a week.
New job – In late January I met in Colorado Springs with Pastor John Pethtel to get the scoop on my new volunteer job as a Church Development Associate. He is the Director of Church Development which encompasses both church planting and church revitalization. My main focus has been making improvements to a new central database of SDB churches, members and new contacts. Once the data is in better shape, I will create reports and mailing lists (such as for the “Sabbath Recorder”). I also respond to some of the inquiries we receive from people wanting more information on SDBs and I may refer them to the nearest church. Eventually I will do more analysis of church development data, assist new groups with steps to establish a church, and provide support to SDBs who are far from a local church. We are looking for more volunteers to serve as Church Development Associates to have more geographical coverage. Contact Pastor John if you are interested.
|Home office, A Choosing People textbook for SDB History|
New home – On February 1st I moved into a small 2-bedroom apartment in Longmont, not far from my mother, with the help of friends. While in the field I had stored all the old files, photos, kid’s school work, etc. but now I had to decide to keep or toss due to limited space.
The apartment is now fairly functional including my home office. All my books are accessible again! One downside of Colorado is increased cost of living, especially monthly rent. I also needed to purchase a few used pieces of furniture and hope to buy a loveseat for the living room area. If you’ve been considering joining my financial support team, now is a good time.😊
|First Hopkinton SDB Church, Ashaway RI|
Pastors Conference – In April I was privileged to attend the conference of SDB pastors in Ashaway, RI. The presentations were challenging and some of the conversations too! “Iron sharpens iron.”
I assisted Pastor John by taking photos and making a presentation on behalf of the Church Planting Task Force, of which I’m a member. I encouraged our pastors to partner with denominational leaders in developing new contacts, and work with each other to support church planting, including as associations.
|Pastors and spouses at the Newport Meeting House. Some came from as far away as Puerto Rico and Brazil.|
We took a field trip to the first meeting house of SDBs in America in Newport, RI. That was exciting as we sang hymns in that historic place and heard about our Sabbath-keeping forebears (some were my literal ancestors).
SDBU History Course – This spring I took the graduate level course on Seventh Day Baptist history. It was a HUGE amount of reading, but all interesting to me. I enjoyed the week of classroom sessions in June with our instructors, Dr. Janet Thorngate and Rev. Nick Kersten, and the time with eight pastors, fellow students. My research paper looks at some of the factors leading to long or short lives for the SDB churches started since 1970. It may help us in allocating resources for church planting and knowing what is optimal.
National Evangelism Conference – Nick Kersten invited me and several others to attend Amplify, an evangelism conference put on by the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College in Illinois, at the end of June. (See photo at top.) The speakers were all passionate about helping churches create a culture of evangelism and told inspiring stories from their own experience. All emphasized praying for unsaved neighbors and coworkers, making friends with them and helping them move closer to a relationship with Christ. I gained some good insights from a session on outreach for introverts. We all have gifts and it’s a team effort.
One favorite idea was to celebrate “invitational fails”. You work up the courage to invite someone to an event, or to coffee or a home study and he turns you down. Hooray! You took a risk, you were obedient and faithful. Keep inviting, stay faithful to our calling (the ministry of reconciliation), throw the seeds, love people, and God will produce the fruit. Celebrate all the invitations no matter the response. That leads to a stronger culture of evangelism in which all can participate.
|SCSC workers Wayne Bloom and Jevon Levy at the Farmers Market|
Boulder SDB Church Outreach – This has been an exciting and busy summer. The Boulder Church has felt more and more at odds with the city where we have been located for 125 years. Pastor Steve Osborn and our leaders have sensed God calling us to a new location about 18 miles east of Boulder called Carbon Valley. It’s comprised of three small towns sitting side by side. This summer we have been serving the area in a variety of ways so we can get to know people and introduce our church. Note: the hashtag #WeR4CV means we are for Carbon Valley.
|Having fun with movie goers using brain teaser questions|
My focus has been the church booth ministry at a weekly Farmers Market, a July 4th festival, and a family “movie in the park” night. We give away Bibles, gospels of John, tracts, SDB information, and invitations (to Bible clubs for kids and a worship service in the park in July). People have responded positively and we look forward to replanting our church there. We’ve been helped in outreach efforts by our SCSC team, Jevon Levy and Wayne Bloom. I gave them a half-day evangelism training before starting to work the booth and they soon put some of the ideas into practice.
Partnership – I’m so thankful for my financial and prayer partners since I began serving in faith five years ago. You are a huge encouragement to me. With the higher cost of living here and some dental work coming up, if you are able to give an additional gift or begin giving monthly, that would be a great blessing. Your gifts are matched through the Church Planting Co-worker Program. One-time gifts are also an important part of my support base. Please designate your gifts for me and make checks payable to my sponsor:
SDB Church of Boulder, 6710 Arapahoe Rd, Boulder CO 80303.
|Church in the Park in July, I played with the worship music team|
· For calm and efficiency as I carry out my work for our Conference.
· For additional financial and prayer supporters this year.
· For ongoing growth of the Hispanic church in Auburn, Washington (I keep in touch with them).
· For Pastor Steve and the Boulder Church in the process of replanting.
· For Seventh Day Baptist churches to excel in making disciples.
|With SDB from Brazil Diego Bernardi, grad student in Colorado, 10K in May|
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.” Philippians 1:3-5
With joy and thanksgiving,
|Colorado sunset from Longmont. Left to right, Mount Meeker, Long's Peak, and Twin Sisters peaks.|