As my ministry here comes to a close (January 15), I’m feeling so thankful for the many special people I have met and gotten to work with. Here is a spotlight on a few of them:
Pastors Ben and Marcela – These church planters embody Paul’s teaching to pray without ceasing, rejoice evermore and give thanks in everything. They are super dedicated to Christ and His Kingdom as they love our church brothers and sisters, as well as the students they work with in the public schools. They have patiently helped me understand their culture and language, and helped me grow spiritually.
Blanca and Juan, and daughter – One of our core families. I have assisted them from time to time with my bilingual skills, and they have treated me to many meals. Blanca has the gift of hospitality and manages the kitchen (the church eats supper together every Sabbath). Juan heads our cleanup crew and keeps us laughing with new jokes. She and I team up to decorate for the frequent celebrations.
Jordan and Martina – Young in age but mature in faith. Their love for the Word of God and for evangelism is an ongoing encouragement to me. They cheerfully serve as audiovisual techs, singers, preachers (Jordan), teachers, evangelists and prayer warriors. I was glad to have them as guitar students for a year.
Ana, Luis and children – Ana has a deep love for Jesus and has been a great companion in evangelism for the Kent Library table ministry, and for our fair booths, with Luis often helping. She loves to engage people in spiritual conversations and share her testimony. She serves the church in many ways, including Assistant Treasurer.
Dalia and children – When I first came two years ago I taught her kids the stories of Jesus once a week after school. Recently she and I have been doing a study of the Gospel of Mark and she regularly invites the neighbor ladies. She’s had many challenges but doesn’t give up. She wants to know God better and be a better mom.
Eusebio, Karina and children. This loving family is committed to Christ and serves our church family with singing, teaching, preaching and encouraging. Gerson is one of my guitar students.
Magali, Reyes and children – Magali was invited to our home Bible study by Claudia (before Claudia moved away) and we worked our way through the Gospel of John, then into a study of foundations of the faith with Blanca, Yoana and Criselia. She has come to understand Jesus as not just God’s Son but God incarnate, and her faith has grown by leaps and bounds. She is loving, caring and faithful, a future leader.
Yoana, Ben and children -
Yoana reached out to Jesus when her young son with special needs died. She began reading the Bible but found much of it mysterious. She was invited to one of our home Bible studies and began to find answers. Her love for and faith in Jesus have deepened greatly. Both she and Magali have noticed God at work changing them to have more patience and compassion, as well as a hunger for the Word. She is an overcomer and I admire her very much.
The youth trio – These kids! I mean, young women. Alejandra is the daughter of Juan and Blanca and regularly invites friends to church services. Alieya and Erica have made our church their spiritual home and we are glad. They ask very astute questions. They sometimes provide special music for worship, or bring a message. They especially enjoy our church outings to Mount Rainier, amusement parks, beach camping, etc.
In September two brothers from Tucson, nephews of Pastora Marcela, asked Pastor Ben to baptize them and also perform their weddings, which he was happy to do. The young men and their brides drove up here and the church responded with enthusiasm, quickly making arrangements for both events. The four were baptized in a mountain lake on Sabbath morning and we celebrated a double wedding in the afternoon. It sparked an interest in baptism among the youth. The two couples are now thinking seriously about moving to our area to join God at work through our church.
On October 15th I participated in an all-day workshop on “The Art of Neighboring”, part of Missions Fest Seattle. I found the concepts very exciting and practical. After a few unfruitful years inviting people to come to events at their church, Pastor Jay Pathak discovered his apartment neighbors were glad to hang out on Fridays after work; grilling meat, having a potluck and talking, sometimes about God. He began to train church members to meet their neighbors, pray for them by name, and look for ways to love and serve them. The second great commandment taken literally! I recommend the book. Their website is www.ArtOfNeighboring.com.
With my 60th birthday coming up in November I decided to commemorate it with something memorable. I set a goal of riding my bike 60 miles in one day. I had just four weeks to train before the weather changed and the days grew too short for long rides. Laser focus! Despite my starting point of being a lazy weekend rider, I completed my goal on October 15th, riding on bike and walking paths around a couple of the city lakes north of here. I had a support crew ready to assist if needed (thank you Ruth Burdick, and Pastor Ben and Marcela), but it was a sunny day and all went well, praise the Lord!
In early November I took a vacation to Colorado to welcome my first grandchild, Jo Ana Joy Petersen, born November 2. Now I know what all the grandparenting fuss is about! It is a great blessing to welcome this little girl to our family and anticipate the years ahead as she grows. Congratulations Paul and Aimée!
|Worship in song, Martina, Kimberly, Marcela|
Since then I have continued the work of discipling these believers of all ages, preparing them to continue meeting for Bible study after I leave, serving the church family, and supporting one another. It will not be easy to say good-bye but I will keep in touch and pray for them. I recently was asked by a youth how to love others as you love yourself, if you don’t love yourself? A non-Christian friend also mentioned dealing with self-hatred for years. The gospel message of hope and new life in Christ is so important! Don’t give up on these conversations with people in your life. God is at work, be it ever so slowly. Continue to pray for them.
What’s next for me? I will continue helping Seventh Day Baptists in church planting. Based in Colorado, I’ll be working as a self-funded ministry volunteer under John Pethtel, Director of Church Development and Pastoral Services. I’ll respond to the many new inquiries we receive and follow up with those showing interest, assessing their compatibility with SDBs. I’ll also assist new groups to get started; pointing them to resources and helping find partners for the new work. I will support Pastor John with administrative tasks and we’ll evaluate after the first year to see what God might have me do next.
Your financial gifts will continue to be matched through the Church Planting Co-worker Program. If you have been contributing monthly, I hope you will continue, and if you have been thinking about joining my support team, please join for 2018! One-time gifts are also an important part of my support base and much appreciated. Starting January 1, gifts designated for me can be payable to my sponsor,
Boulder Seventh Day Baptist Church
6710 Arapahoe Rd
Boulder CO 80303.
Boulder Seventh Day Baptist Church
6710 Arapahoe Rd
Boulder CO 80303.
Answers to prayer: You asked God to bring additional families to our church and He has! He has continued to give me good health for the work. He has faithfully provided for my additional needs this year through all of you and I am SO thankful.
New prayer requests:
- For the Hispanic church here to continue to grow, and for pastors Ben and Marcela.
- For safe travel as I leave by car January 15. I plan to go south to Kingman, AZ, where I served in 2013 to visit the church and other friends, then on to Colorado.
- For my financial support in 2018 and an affordable place to rent (possibly with roommates).
- For a great start to the work for Pastor John, beginning February 1st.