• Connecting people to an abundant life with Jesus Christ and preparing them for His return

Hispanic Ministries

Thrilling Matches Create Enduring Community Connections

Thrilling Matches Create Enduring Community Connections 1872 971 Ken Miller

The Federación de Jóvenes Adventistas (Federation of Adventist Youth—FeJA) recently organized an indoor soccer tournament at the Golden Gate Academy gymnasium. Approximately 200 Adventist and non-Adventist guests participated in a spirited competition and community bonding day.

Ruben Vargas, district pastor of Napa, St. Helena, and Sonoma Spanish churches, stated, “FeJA organizes three to four tournaments yearly at several different churches according to the church’s capability and schedule.”

The Golden Gate edition showcased thrilling matches and featured a delightful spread of freshly prepared food generously provided by the San Leandro Spanish Church. The crowning moment of the tournament came as the Richmond Spanish team emerged victorious, clinching a remarkable 4-0 win against Lodi Spanish in the final match.

The success of these events is a testament to the meticulous planning and unwavering dedication of the FeJA team, as well as the invaluable support of local youth leaders and pastors. Vargas stated, “All pastors that are part of the Hispanic ministries team are affiliated with FeJA. Their dedication and collaborative efforts have enriched the participants’ lives and sown the seeds for enduring connections and meaningful relationships within the community.

Featured in Northern Lights, June 6, 2024

Women With a Higher Purpose

Women With a Higher Purpose 1906 1072 Ken Miller

The air buzzed with excitement as the morning sun rose over Leoni Meadows. Over 500 women had gathered at the annual Hispanic Women’s Ministry retreat, creating a sense of anticipation and camaraderie.

Paul Guevara, NCC Coordinator of Hispanic Ministries, looked out at the crowd with pride. “Never has there been a reunion as big as this in the last 20 years,” he exclaimed, addressing the sea of smiling faces.

The event’s theme, “Belleza Entre Las Cenizas” (Beauty Among the Ashes), beautifully mirrored the surrounding landscape. Around Leoni Meadows, grass, flowers, and small trees were beginning to sprout from the land, a visual symbol of renewal and growth. Lisa Marsh, the Women’s Ministry Director of NCC, passionately shared her vision of uniting women in our churches to reach women in Northern California communities. This vision resonated deeply with the attendees.

Florinda Guevara, organizer, and volunteer director of the Hispanic Women’s Ministries, has tirelessly worked with her team on their strategic plan to engage, train, support, and empower women leaders at the church level. One key component of her plan was the NAD Women’s Ministry Leadership Certification.

At this year’s event, they celebrated the hard work and dedication of 8 women who completed all four levels to earn their certification. One recipient, her eyes gleaming with pride, shared her experience. “I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge about effective leadership principles, communication and conflict resolution, problem-solving and decision making, visioning and goal setting, mentorship and counseling, running small group ministries, and practical strategies to reclaim lost members,” she said. “I am thrilled to contribute to my church’s efforts in reaching out to the women in my neighborhood.”

When asked about the attendance, Florinda shared, “About half of these women are non-Adventist or not members of our churches. They have been warmly invited by a church member to be here. Witnessing the Holy Spirit’s work in our community is a true blessing and a testament to the power of unity and outreach.”

The event had historic attendance, driven by a clear purpose to connect women to an abundant life with Jesus and a reliance on the Holy Spirit by newly trained women leaders. Florinda quoted Ellen G. White: “There is a higher purpose for woman, a grander destiny. She should develop and cultivate her powers, for God can employ them in the great work of saving souls from eternal ruin” (Evangelism p. 465).

Featured in Northern Lights, May 9, 2024

Mulching Mission Movement

Mulching Mission Movement 2000 1125 Ken Miller

October 10- It was all hands on deck as the NCC administration offices locked the doors and workers descended on Maidu Park in Roseville for the annual community service day.

In 2022, workers spread sixty yards of forest mulch at another Roseville park. This year, 300 yards were piled around the new location. The contrast in job size raised a few eyebrows. Albert Miller, NCC superintendent of schools and project coordinator, looked across the park at the piles and drily stated, “Well, it ain’t gonna get done by itself.”

While the mulch group shoveled and raked the piles methodically, smaller teams painted perimeter gates bright yellow and refreshed red curb paint along driveways. Four baseball equipment shacks were painted grey and blue. By the end of the workday, finished painters joined in the mulch movement, and the team completed all the jobs.

Brian Casteluccio, Roseville Parks, Recreation and Libraries Superintendent, wrote, “I want to send a huge kudos to your team. They did a great job! It was a very successful volunteer event. Your work is greatly appreciated by the City of Roseville and the community.”

Featured in Northern Lights, October 26, 2023

Pastor Emán Collins Passes to His Rest

Pastor Emán Collins Passes to His Rest 1284 1561 Ken Miller

We regretfully announce that Emán Collins passed away on October 1 in Argentina with Ruth, his wife, and loved ones by his side.

Collins joined the NCC in 1986 as the pastor of the Antioch Church. The following year, he became an evangelist in our territory, also serving as the Hispanic Ministries coordinator. In 2003, Collins moved from the Hispanic coordinator position and joined the Hayward Spanish SDA Church as lead pastor until his retirement in 2009.

Paul Guevara, the current NCC Hispanic Ministries Coordinator, stated, “I had the privilege to know pastor Collins and will always remember him as a great human being who treated everyone with love and respect. He was passionate about Jesus and His work.”

Sal Alvarado, ABC director, reflected, “Pastor Collins was my mentor and my friend. He was a great evangelist, and I credit the baptisms of my wife and son to the power of his presentation of the Gospel.”

A family member revealed that a memorial was held in Argentina, and there are no plans for a service in the United States.

Featured in Northern Lights, October 19, 2023

Joelle Chinnock Chosen as Ending Homelessness Initiative Coordinator

Joelle Chinnock Chosen as Ending Homelessness Initiative Coordinator 1474 1967 Ken Miller

Joelle Chinnock started her new job as the Ending Homelessness Initiative Coordinator in
August. Before this, she served as the Director of Disaster Recovery and Development for the Paradise church after the Camp Fire of 2018. In this position, she led multiple support initiatives, wrote grants, and co-founded the Camp Shed Project.

Applying her professional and personal experience to the Ending Homelessness Initiative, Chinnock stated, “During the Camp Fire incident, I was not equipped nor trained. However, I felt the urge to assist my fellow survivors. This desire was driven by my own personal journey to overcome the trauma of being displaced and losing my home. I know many unhoused individuals experience similar feelings of hopelessness and despair. I am thrilled to be part of the solution and restore hope in these people’s lives.”

At the 2022 Constituency Session, NCC President Marc Woodson presented this new initiative, “Our goal is to reduce homelessness measurably and significantly in every county where we operate by 2032. This means achieving and maintaining ‘functional zero’ for specific populations within each county, such as chronically homeless or veterans. Although the Northern California Conference comprises 31 counties in California, we do not have a presence in all of them. Therefore, our focus is to reduce homelessness where we have churches and schools in the next ten years.”

Chinnock will serve as the primary contact for the initiative. As coordinator, she will shape the Built for Zero model strategy and liaise between NCC entities, regional organizations, and community groups. She will manage day-to-day operations, including volunteer development and training.

Chinnock continued, “I understand that each county where our schools and churches are present faces different issues, but the aim is to ensure that every entity is equipped with the necessary resources and information to address homelessness based on the Built for Zero model.”

Woodson concluded, “I am very excited to add Joelle to our team. She is going to be working on a very important initiative that will help our churches and schools become more community-relevant as they work with top leaders and non-profit organizations, addressing homelessness.”

Featured in Northern Lights, September 21, 2023

Linda Terry Joins NCC Administration Staff

Linda Terry Joins NCC Administration Staff 2919 3679 Ken Miller

The NCC recently welcomed Linda Terry as the new administrative assistant for the ministerial and evangelism departments.

Terry has worked for Weimar University and Spectrum Magazine, as well as owned a building maintenance business with her husband, Ed.

“In my previous job, she explained, “I think God was working on me to be ready for something new. I was hesitant because I really enjoyed what I was doing and the people I worked with. I was told about the position and thought if this is what God wanted me to do, I would move forward. I’m very happy to serve Him in this office.”

Terry shares her life with Ed, her husband of 49 years and current NCC building supervisor. They have two grown sons, Monte and Jon, and two grandchildren.

Featured in Northern Lights, September 21, 2023

Racing Through Childhood

Racing Through Childhood 2000 1125 Ken Miller

The first time I laid eyes on little Nova, she was bolting from her kindergarten classroom, left arm adorned in a fresh pink cast, running like her chariot was on fire.

Her teacher had instructed me to prohibit any running. She flew past us, gaining speed, hurling herself over the three-foot retaining wall that separates the elementary school playground from the soccer field… And she just kept going. I thought to myself, “I like this kid already.”

My bond with her grew over the next five years until I became an auxiliary grandmother to her rambunctious family. They were not part of our SDA church, but occasionally, Nova attended church with us.

One summer, I invited them to my favorite place on Earth, Redwood Camp meeting. The casual, hundred-acre-wood style would be a comfortable introduction to worshipping our great God. Nova, her younger brother River, and their mother relished the cool, oxygen-rich air filtered by thousand-year-old Redwood trees. At Redwood, running is encouraged between the Christ-centered children’s programs.

During the invigorating morning classes, River learned about creation. He would find me in the Redwood office later and, with his newfound knowledge, quiz me on who made the giant trees and the sun and tigers and monster trucks and the mountains. I fielded question after question about where God lives, why we can’t see him, and how we talk to Him.

One afternoon, River returned to the question of who God is, paused, and then blurted out, “Oh! I met God yesterday!” I answered, “That’s so cool!” River continued, “You showed him to me in your office! His name is Ed!”, My amusement was growing, and I responded, “Who?” River squealed, “You remember? I asked if he was God… that guy named Ed. I think he is God because he was so nice!”

Ed just happened to be Ed Fargusson, assistant to the president of the NCC. Indeed, a lovely man who interacted with River that day he exploded into the office. But to no avail, no matter how many times I tell River that Ed is kind but not God, River continues to address God as Ed.

Halfway home from Campmeeting, the children’s mom called to ask if it was too late to enroll them in our local Adventist school. She stated, “I want my kids in a wholesome environment with kids like the friends they’ve made at Redwood Campmeeting.”

In the end, River, Nova, and even Nova’s best friend all started school on August 16th at our local SDA school.

Inviting our community to experience uplifting events like campmeeting, a potluck, or a school program can have resounding results both here and in Heaven. I am so grateful for our Adventist culture, exemplifying the love of God, commitment to family, and for connecting people to an abundant life in Jesus.

Featured in Northern Lights, September 14, 2023

Chris Estay Installed at Vallejo Central

Chris Estay Installed at Vallejo Central 2048 1536 Ken Miller

July 1-Chris Estay was installed as the new pastor of Vallejo Central Church.

Estay is excited about his new church family. When asked how he eases into a new church position, he stated, “I’ve learned over time that I have 100 ideas in my head, which makes me want to rush. But with maturity, I’ve learned to slow down and assess a church’s culture by first serving and becoming friends with the members.”

Making those deeper connections, Estay states, “Creates unity when time is spent making friends and sharing. It reveals the members’ personalities, talents, and motivations, and identifies the church’s true heart.” He concluded, “I am very pleased to be at Vallejo. This is a very motivated church, and we will serve God and our community well together.”

Estay shares life with Erdal, his wife of 18 years. They are the proud parents of son Gabriel, age 9, and daughter Liana, age 6.

Featured in Northern Lights, August 3, 2023

Diplomas for Disciples

Diplomas for Disciples 1277 731 Ken Miller

The Fairfield Spanish church is dedicated to maintaining its connection with the community by offering a space for spiritual growth and education. Recently, 48 students who were studying at the church completed the Bible Instructor Program provided by the Instituto Laico Adventista de California (ILAC). The ILAC program focuses on personal development, honing talents, skills, and leadership abilities to serve God.

According to Jose Diaz, district pastor for Fairfield and Vallejo, “The classes equip people with the skills to give more effective Bible studies. It builds confidence in Bible study givers and offers innovative teaching techniques.”

Featured in Northern Lights, July 20, 2023

Ministries Move With Generous Planned Giving Gift

Ministries Move With Generous Planned Giving Gift 2000 1125 Ken Miller

The Open Door story from Sacramento Korean (see Stewardship Leads to Service Leads to Disciples) is just one of the many testimonies from a commitment to serving our neighbors with contagious kindness and passionate, hard work. During the 2023 year, the following projects have been approved, and the corresponding amounts allocated.

Rio Lindo Academy Men and Women’s Dormitory Remodel Project: $350,000. Albert Miller, superintendent, reported, “We have scheduled a meeting with the contracted architect and engineer in July. We aim to have one or two demo rooms completed by the end of October, followed by remodeling the dorms rooms staggered the following year based on available funding.”

Multi-Campus Hybrid School with Missional Group: $185,000 According to Kevin Robert, evangelism director, “The project is progressing well and has received approval from WASC. We are pleased to announce that academy classes for El Dorado will begin with four confirmed students and possibly a fifth for the upcoming school year.”

Free Dental/Vision Clinics for Communities: $50,000. James Lim, Asian Pacific coordinator, and community service director, reported, “I am happy that our free clinic projects are progressing smoothly. We have many churches participating, and we expect to use the full budget of $50,000 by the end of the year. Our partnership with Life Health Network has resulted in noticeable cost savings. Also, The NCC Women’s Ministry has been a valuable partner, providing event volunteers.”

Hispanic Ministries Center of Hope: $190,000. Paul Guevara, Hispanic ministries coordinator, stated, “Exciting news! Plans are underway to establish a Center of Hope in Hayward. A dedicated committee is working closely with an architect and engineer to ensure the building is used to its fullest potential while remaining within budget. Additionally, there are plans to develop the community service building adjacent to the Center of Hope.”

Cascading Organizational Health: $75,000. Marc Woodson, NCC president, remarked, “Organizational Health will help the conference thrive and accomplish its mission. A healthy organization starts with a cohesive leadership team at all levels. The funds have supported leadership training for pastors, educators, and directors. It also supported developing a team of 20 mentors to support 30 churches’ journey toward organizational health.”

Featured in Northern Lights, July 13, 2023