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.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Summer Update 2017

Celebrating Pastor Ben and Marcela's anniversary.

Dear Friends,

As the summer comes to a close, I’m thankful for all the opportunities for sharing the gospel, making disciples, and enjoying our church family. Since my last update, I attended the Seventh Day Baptist Pastor’s Conference in April (Alfred Station, New York). What a blessing to meet with so many other pastors and leaders, and be challenged and encouraged as we heard about “Soul Care”. Leaders need to take care of themselves as well as tending to the needs of others. It was timely for me as I’ve needed major dental work this year and recently experienced an allergic reaction to an antibiotic. I’m not good at taking time to recover but I’m learning. I’ve found it’s important to be on the receiving end sometimes as others have the chance to care for me. (One of our church ladies loves to feed me.) 

In June I was in Wisconsin to attend the final week of the excellent online class I took through the SDB denomination. It was on Sabbath Theology. Being a Seventh Day Baptist all my life, I thought I knew lots already about the Sabbath but I was surprised how much more there is to know! It has helped me better explain from the Bible why we keep the seventh-day Sabbath, and I have a deeper reverence for this day of rest that God blessed and called holy. I also enjoyed getting to know more of our pastors.

Also in June I enjoyed a short visit from my daughter, Ana, on break from her tours with Disney on Ice (sound technician). We visited Olympic National Park, which I’d not been to before. It’s an actual rain forest! Our hike took us into a thickly overgrown trail, but we had fun bushwhacking. We just saw a small part of the area so I’m hoping to return another time and explore more.

Algona Days in July. Luis and Ana, Kimberly, and me.
For all-church gospel outreach this summer we had booths at two city events, one in Algona (July) and one in Auburn (August). At both of them we were side by side with the Seattle Area SDB church and that was a great partnership. We gave away a number of Bibles, gospels of John and tracts. We also prayed with people and had some good conversations about Christ. If you want to contribute a donation specifically for the outreach materials, please let me know. I’ve had several people pay for Bibles and tracts for us this year and we are grateful for the partnership.

AuburnFest in August. Pastora Marcela at the table.

Auburn Library, Fourth of July
The weekly ministry tables at two local libraries are also going well. God brings those who are spiritually hungry and I’m so thankful we can give them the truth that saves, rather than see them turn to other groups who are out witnessing to a false gospel. Jordan and Martina regularly man the Auburn table, and Ana Plaza and I have the Kent table. Jordan reported recently that a woman prayed to receive Christ, praise God! 

There is an atheist who often stopped by the table in Kent but it was hard to have an in-depth conversation because of so many people browsing. He suggested we meet for coffee and we’ve been doing that monthly and plan to continue, now as friends. He is adamant in his view of reality and offers many resources for me to check out. I offer him the same and am learning a lot! Please pray for him (and for me). 

Kent Library with Ana

Has your church considered doing baby showers as a way to invite people to get to know you? Two of the women I disciple through home Bible studies were expecting and we showered them with love and gifts on two different Sabbaths. Yoana had her baby boy in May and Magali had a girl in July. Party planning is a new skill I have on my resume. It was fun to create a trivia game based on famous babies in the Bible.


We were hoping to take some of our youth to the annual SDB Conference in California this year, using funds offered for youth ministry by our Northwest Association. Then we found out they were not old enough for the high school conference, so we searched for another opportunity for them to grow in Christ this summer. We sent three girls to Black Lake Bible Camp in Olympia, WA (no SDB camp nearby) and that was a blessing for them. Please pray for our youth to have godly influences in their lives.

I decided to drive to southern California for Conference and was glad to have Christina McNeme for company on the way down. She’s the daughter of my friend, Vivian Allen (Montana). Christina had been helping our church ministries for the previous month and especially enjoyed ministering to the youth.
Two of our youth with Christina at Fort Nisqually, a living history museum in Tacoma.
Pastor Carl Greene and his dynamite Bible studies.
Conference was at Azusa Pacific University with the theme, “Life on Mission”. Pastor Ben and Marcela were there from our church, and also Jordan and Martina. I was blessed by the many great sermons, workshops and conversations with fellow SDBs about living out God’s mission in our communities. I also had a display board in the exhibit area with pictures showing the places where I’ve been serving SDBs in church planting. It was great to see two Hispanic churches become members of the General Conference, one of which I had assisted, the Agape Ministry SDB Church in Puerto Rico. The other was a church in Riverside, CA, Redemption Evangelical Fellowship. God bless the expanding presence of Hispanic SDB churches!
Two sisters are pastors! My sister, JoAnne Kandel, and me.
Big Basin Redwoods CA State Park - see the tiny people?
On the way home I visited friends in a couple places and saw a Redwood forest near San Francisco. Very impressive! I also made an appointment for a root canal for the day after I got home due to an infected tooth. I think my teeth have hit their expiration date. 😊 This is my second root canal this year and work on other teeth is recommended. The Lord has provided for me financially through so many of your gifts and I’m very thankful. Because of the dental expenses and car maintenance (tires, brakes), I’m looking into some part-time employment, but I remain committed to full-time ministry.

My two-year service to the church in Auburn is coming to a close in January and I’ll be moving back to Colorado for a year or longer. What I believe the Lord would have me do next is continue to serve SDBs in the areas of church planting and revitalization under Pastor John Pethtel, the Director of these areas, and continue to raise my own support. It’s under discussion with denominational leaders and we’ll see how God directs. I also want to support my home church in Boulder as they are currently moving through the PULSE process for church revitalization, or perhaps there will be a new church plant in Colorado that I can join! Wherever I am, I’ll continue to share the gospel in the pubic square and train others to do it as well.

God bless you, all my partners in ministry! As always, donations can be directed to the church here, “IBS Dia”, and contact me for the mailing address. Be sure to note my name on the memo line of the check.

Please lift up these needs in your prayers.
  • For our newer believers to put down deep roots in Christ
  • For God to send more strong Christians to join our church in ministry
  • For my health and strength, and for God’s provision for the extra expenses
  • For pastors Ben and Marcela and their family
  • For my transitioning ministry areas to others, and for God’s guidance for what He has next for me
Church camping trip in August; Thousand Trails campground near Leavenworth, WA.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Early Spring 2017

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Washington where everyone is a Seahawk’s fan! Above are the happy faces of our fledgling church youth group. I hope they will become strong fans of Jesus! We got started in December and meet twice a month for fun and a Bible lesson (and popcorn). One of the moms, Blanca, is co-leader with me. We recently wanted to raise money for the youth to attend a Christian concert. What do you suppose was Blanca’s idea? She made about 90 tamales and we sold them to folks at church and to my Line Dancing friends. Delicious! And I got a lesson in tamale making. (It’s labor intensive.)

The biggest news since my last update is that I was invited in late November to be a delegate to the Seventh Day Baptist World Federation meetings in Brazil in January. I was stepping in for someone who couldn’t make it, and all my expenses were covered. I was thrilled at the opportunity and praised God for such a generous gift. I had a current passport and was able to secure a visa in time, so off I went on January 18. Four flights and 29 hours later I was at Hope Ranch (Chácara Esperança) in Curitiba, Brazil.
Pastors Fred Maduka, Malawi, and Daniel Nsubuga, Uganda

My stay began with the Brazilian Conference on Friday and Sabbath, then the World Federation the following week. The Brazilian SDBs are such gracious, loving people! We had a wonderful time worshipping and visiting with them, despite the language difference. With my Spanish I could understand some Portuguese, and they provided several interpreters for us, from among their members.

It was summertime in southern Brazil, though not above 80 degrees most days due to being in a mountainous area. I enjoyed the unusual flowers and trees, especially a tree called the Monkey Puzzle. It’s a type of evergreen that resembles an open umbrella and can live up to 2,000 years! They’re very tall and are abundant in this corner of Brazil.

Our Brazilian hosts took us sight-seeing one day, including lunch at a Brazilian grill called a Churrascaria. It’s a buffet with the addition of waiters bringing an assortment of grilled meats on large skewers directly to your table to carve off slices of melt-in-your-mouth beef, shrimp, chicken, pork, etc. We also visited three nearby SDB churches and enjoyed meeting many of the brethren there. At right is the First Seventh Day Baptist Church of Curitiba.
I have so many happy memories of the World Federation week as we worshipped, studied the Bible, heard messages, debated business matters, and ate meals together, but I think my favorite memory is of the music. The members of the worship team were all gifted musicians, clearly rejoicing in the Lord as they played and sang under the direction of Luiz Miranda. Such music! Lively, worshipful, a variety of styles, and usually in both Portuguese and English. Luiz gathered a small group of us to be the first-ever World Federation choir and we sang twice on Sabbath. Below is a video sample of the music.

Presentation of the newly elected World Federation officers
Pastor Fred Maduka and Yours Truly
It was an honor to participate and to make new friends with SDBs from so far away. One example is Fred Maduka of Malawi who shared with me that he gave his life to Christ because of the ministry of missionary David Pearson. Pastor Fred is now president of the Central Africa Conference of SDBs. The theme for the week was, “The Kingdom of God is like…” (Just as Jesus began many of his parables). I am so grateful for this taste of heaven where there will be believers from every tribe, tongue and nation.

Pastor Bernardino de Vargas Sobrinho of Brazil

The weekly ministry at the Auburn library is going well with four of us taking turns working the table in pairs. I’ve had two lengthy conversations with a gentleman from the Jehovah’s Witness table who patiently explained why Jesus cannot be Jehovah but is an exalted being like no other. He showed me verses from their altered translation of the Bible and I pointed out the similarity of Romans 10:9 (“If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord… you will be saved”) and 10:13 (“Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved” NWT). He said I was getting confused. Pray for his heart to open!

On Valentine’s Day I wrote on our marker board, “Jesus said, ‘Love one another.’ “  A Muslim woman from Niger, fully covered except for her eyes, came to our table saying she liked that sign, that we should all learn to do that. She stayed to tell me how great Islam is and how misunderstood. She agreed to take one of our gospels of John to learn more about this Jesus who they acknowledge was a prophet. After our conversation she said I was a nice person and gave me a hug. Praise God for that encounter!

At the Kent Library table we have a pretty steady stream of visitors, perhaps because we are outside. One man, an atheist, came several weeks in a row to chat and argue, giving me things to look up and read, and open to my suggestions of things for him to check out. It’s an interesting dialog, and reminds me how important it is to understand another’s perspective in order to offer truth where they have weak spots. I thought his definition of atheist was interesting as “someone for whom the idea of God doesn’t make sense.” Let’s pray the Holy Spirit gives him insight into the one, true living God.

I recently attended a presentation on Islam by a local Imam, offered at our Senior Center. As he stepped through his many slides it became obvious he wanted to convince us that their God is the same as the God of the Jews and Christians, and they are peaceful and do not force anyone to convert. From my research, I know Islam is only peaceful at the start of the Quran, not at the end. Mohammad endorsed forced conversions and led his people in military conquests. Their god requires good works to earn his love and favor, with no guarantees about paradise. They gave away many tracts and free copies of the Quran. “Jesus in Islam”, “Human Rights in Islam.”  The need is great for followers of Jesus to actively share the true gospel to counter the influence of false religions.

Pastor Ben brings the Word
"Let it rain" - "Haz llover"
The home Bible studies are going well. Blanca wanted a different day than Magali so we meet on Friday mornings, and her neighbor (another mom) has joined us. We are studying the epic story of the Bible through “The Story of Hope” ( The lessons cover key biblical events leading to the coming of the Messiah, with colorful illustrations. Blanca recently posted to her friends on Facebook an invitation to this study and thanked me saying, “This is helping me so much and I’m learning so many spiritual things.” Magali added, “Thank you, Patty, for your patience to answer all our questions.”

Pastor Ben and Marcela's 29th anniversary

In other news, I’m teaching the youth at church on Sabbath and occasionally bringing the message during the worship service. I’m taking an online course on Sabbath Theology, which is very interesting and has a challenging workload. It ends in June with one week of in-class instruction at the SDB center in Janesville, WI. I’ll also be traveling to New York State soon to attend the SDB Pastor’s Conference, April 25-27, as the assistant pastor for our church.

Crafted of PlayDoh by a youth to illustrate a story.

I thank the Lord fervently for your faithful prayers and giving. Because of your financial support I’m able to travel to conferences, purchase Bibles for the ministry tables, buy curriculum, and cover my monthly expenses. I am so thankful to be able to work full-time in ministry, and I’m learning and growing in so many ways (Pastor Ben confirms that). 😊

As always, donations can be directed to the church here, “IBS Dia”, and contact me for the mailing address. Be sure to note my name on the memo line of the check. We can also set up automatic fund transfers (EFTs), bank to bank.

Please lift up these needs in your prayers. Thank you!
·       Several of our families would like to go to General Conference in southern California in July and will need to save for that and take time off work. Please pray for everything to come together.
·       For additional gospel outreaches as the weather warms up, including “church in the park”.
·       For our church as we add more structure and organization.
·       For pastors Ben, Marcela and me as we lead our congregation.