Monday, July 23, 2018

New Ministry in 2018

My view of Pike's Peak while hiking in Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs CO

Dear Friends,

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

Prayer requests:
·       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.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Blessings at Year End 2017

Dear Friends,

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

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.

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.

May God give you a blessed Christmas and a New Year of joy in Jesus the Savior.