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” (www.goodsoil.com). 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.
 


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Autumn Update 2016

Seattle Area SDB Church, Auburn WA

Greetings!


I hope you are enjoying this season of harvest and giving thanks. It’s been a busy and fruitful time here; praise the Lord! I so appreciate your prayers. Because of them we’re able to continue planting this church and ministering to people in our community in spite of many challenges. I’m learning lots from Pastor Ben Figueroa, who has planted several churches before. We believe God would have me continue serving here through 2017 and I look forward to deepening relationships with these disciples. Pastor Ben has also asked me to be an assistant pastor and I’m honored to support him in this way.  (Notes: I'm using initials rather than names for some individuals in this post for privacy. Click on any picture to enlarge it.)

In July we hosted our first church booth at the Algona Days fair (2 days). Everyone pitched in the week before to put our church labels on the tracts and Bibles. 










Thanks to design work donated by fellow SDB Ralph Hays, we had a beautiful banner displaying our church name with Mount Rainier in the background. 










Many from our church manned the booth, even though it was scary at first for some. We gave away Bibles, gospels of John and tracts (both English and Spanish). M. had a great conversation with two boys, brothers, who took Bibles and were excited to learn more about Jesus. M. and J. are a married couple in our church who are excited about sharing the gospel. They also passed out patriotic tracts with me on the 4th of July at a park in Auburn.


 


 
The guitar lessons continue weekly with J., J. and M., plus a new middle school student starting soon. We start each lesson with prayer and most of the songs have Christian themes. Next up we’re learning Christmas carols! I don’t teach weekly Bible stories to D’s children any more since life got busy as she began taking classes this summer to complete her GED. She’s doing well but asked me to tutor her in math and I’m looking forward to that.

 







After five months of home Bible studies together, C. moved with her family to Oregon in July. Though we miss our study times, she and her husband have joined a couples Bible study and I pray for continued growth in their family. I still meet with M. weekly, and her friend B. is joining us to study the book of John. M. recently commented that she is learning so much about Jesus and the Bible through our studies. She is now sure of her salvation. Her faith is growing and she’s excited!

   

Me with my sister, JoAnne Kandel, new grandma!

August was a travel month. First I attended the SDB General Conference in Houghton, NY, getting to visit with many of you and share what God is doing among SDBs in the realm of church planting. I enjoyed worshipping on two Sabbaths with nearby churches and giving them a ministry update (Hebron PA and Little Genesee NY). While I was in New York, my niece (Emily Kandel Miller) had a baby and it was fun to meet my grandnephew.

 



Then I traveled to Wisconsin to audit the Summer Institute class on SDB Polity and Church Governance. This was important material as I have been helping new churches create their statements of faith, covenants, constitutions and by-laws. I have a lot more sympathy for pastors after experiencing some of the challenges of shepherding!  

Top of a ridge with Mount Rainier behind

At the end of August, my daughter, Ana, visited me in Washington and we saw the sights, including the zoo, aquarium, Pike’s Place Farmer’s Market and an eleven-mile hike in Mount Rainier National Park. That was a doozy but four days later we were in Montana at Glacier National Park and hiked 15 miles! I concluded I need to work up to those longer hikes but thankfully my knees have recovered and I can keep line dancing. :-)  Many thanks to Betty H. for hosting us in Montana. Vivian Allen and two of her children also joined us for the hike. (Covenant SDB Fellowship, Hungry Horse)


Glacier National Park, Garden Wall Trail

Our church loves to celebrate birthdays!
In September we started a new ministry at the Auburn Public Library. I’d noticed the Jehovah’s Witnesses had literature at a table in the entry area and I asked the Library staff if we could do the same. They said we’re free to do that as long as we’re not selling anything and we agree to let people come to us, not approach them.




 


 

So I go on Tuesdays, with M. and J. coming when they get off work, and we offer Bibles, tracts, church invitations and conversation to whomever God leads to our table. A Mormon woman stopped by a couple times and we talked about our different understanding of who Jesus is. Mormons use language similar to ours but with vastly different meaning, and I think most Mormons are not aware that they believe a different gospel than what the Bible teaches.


I’ve just wrapped up teaching the first seven chapters of Acts to our Sabbath adult class. We had lots of questions and good discussions on how we want to operate as a church body in light of how the early church functioned. One of those ideas is to form home groups that include neighbors and friends, to widen the circle of influence and help make new disciples.


Our church participated in the Northwest Association meeting on October 1st in Portland, OR. Rob Appel, Executive Director, brought a report of recent activity in the SDB Conference.  While there I went for a short hike in the woods with Levi Bond, Vivian Allen and two of her children. Among the golden leaves on the ground I was astonished to find maple leaves 12 inches across! I looked them up online and learned they’re from “Big Leaf Maples”, of course.
 

 






Entrance of Doxa Church, downtown Bellevue
In early October I attended a two-day conference for church planters and revitalizers in Bellevue, WA, put on by the Verge Network. I learned about missional communities (church folks who invite their neighbors over to build friendships and look for opportunities to minister and share the gospel), and about having a vision for “gospel saturation” of our communities, based on Habakkuk 2:14. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”   

 

 

A key idea is that we are all on mission every day of the week, not just one day. Pastors are to “raise up ministers who minister everywhere they go.” “We all have the same Senior Pastor, Jesus Christ.” 

How many churches are in your town?  “Only one – Jesus’ church.”  


 









Coffee House Thursday evening, intro to the speakers
In mid-October I attended a similar conference, “Multiply” from Frontline Church Planting, in Colorado Springs, with 32 fellow SDBs! The Friday sessions were at Vanguard Church (SDBs and others), then Sabbath was just our group. The theme was “Engaging Hard Topics” which we surely did as we were challenged to think about our responses to racism and the LGBT community.  “Walk with diverse people as you develop your theology.” “We’re living in Rome.” “Your home is not a retreat but a place dedicated to the mission of God. Diversify the dinner table.”

Pastor John Pethtel leading the Sabbath afternoon session of Multiply.
Longs Peak viewed from Longmont, Colorado
  As a new year approaches, please consider how God might have you partner with me in ministry through prayer, monthly support, and one-time gifts. A few monthly financial partners are not able to continue and I’m looking forward to some new ones in 2017. It’s been so wonderful this year to have the income to buy two cases of Bibles to give out, as well as tracts and Bible study materials. Also, support for travel to General Conference and the church planting conferences. And I recently had to replace my printer. God provides!

 
 


Thank you for your faithful prayer support. Here are some prayer needs:

·       For our newer disciples to grow in trusting Jesus with every part of their lives.
·       For Pastor Ben and Marcela.
·       For the growth of leaders in our church as we add small groups.
·       For my continued growth in language skills.
·       Financial support in 2017. Praise the Lord for my free housing!
  
Holly trees in Auburn!
Donations can be mailed to the church here, “IBS Dia”, c/o Patty Petersen, 207 10th Ave N, Algona WA 98001. Please write my name on the memo line of the check and they will pass along 100% of the funds to me. We can also set up automatic fund transfers (EFTs), bank to bank. Many thanks.
 

God bless you in the holiday season and may you shower others with the light and love of Jesus.