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Northern Lights

We Celebrate Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

We Celebrate Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month 774 224 Ken Miller

In May we celebrated and honored our 23 Asian American and Pacific Islander Churches, companies, and groups in our territory who speak eleven different languages.

Our Asian Pacific Department works with the following cultural groups: Korean, Filipino, Chinese, Indonesian, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Hmong, Laotian, Samoan, Tongan, Japanese and Fijian.

We are also proud to have the only organized Fijian Church in the North American Division.

We wish to recognize our fifteen Asian Pacific pastors who are passionate hard workers and demonstrate a servant’s heart.

Featured in Northern Lights, May 25, 2023

Rosie Sanchez Joins Administrative Staff

Rosie Sanchez Joins Administrative Staff 1877 2326 Ken Miller

Rosie Sanchez recently joined the NCC offices. Sanchez is the new administrative assistant to Jose Marin, executive secretary.

After dedicating several years to family banking at Chase, Rosie found herself on a new and exciting path. Her prayers for a community that shared her deep commitment to Biblical principles and Christian values were answered, leading her toward a more fulfilling personal life. She explains, “I didn’t study the Bible much during my time in another church, but that lack of knowledge made me feel a strong desire to learn more about God.”

To answer her heart’s desire, Emmanuel Escobar, a friend, and member of the Sacramento Spanish Church, began inviting her to Vespers on Friday nights.

There, Sanchez found what she sought. A Bible-based community that she described by saying, “Not only were they friendly, but they engaged and surrounded me with love and care. This is exactly the desire God had put in my heart.”

Rosie was baptized on May 7, 2022. She reflects, “I now profoundly understand that my journey was in God’s hands, which gives me certainty in life. He has given me a church family, a new job serving Him, and assurance of His blessings.”

God had more blessings in store for Rosie. Emmanuel and Rosie’s connection grew stronger, and they will be married on May 28th, 2023.

Featured in Northern Lights, May 18, 2023

Here a Pear, There a Plum, Everywhere a Yum Yum

Here a Pear, There a Plum, Everywhere a Yum Yum 2000 1125 Ken Miller

Auburn church members have a unique way of being community relevant, which takes much passionate, hard work.

The church has been maintaining a small farm for several years now. The farm boasts an orchard with fruit trees like pear, cherry, apple, peach, and plum. In addition to the fruit trees, the farm has a garden that grows different vegetables, including squash, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and this year’s new test crop – potatoes.

The Adventist Community Services program involves church gardeners and members of the community planting, growing, and harvesting large quantities of fresh produce. This food is primarily distributed to families in the community who struggle with food insecurity. Pam Haddad, community service director, stated, “Often during peak harvest, there is so much produce that we can offer it to other resource centers in the area, of which they are always appreciative.”

Haddad continued, “Each Monday, member Heidi Magorian provides a wonderful hot and well-rounded lunch for our unhoused brothers and sisters. As part of the ministry, guests are provided clean clothes, hot showers, and weekly supplies.”

Adam Weeks, associate pastor, stated, “The church highly supports this program with many volunteers, and many recipients of the food have come back and told of the blessings they received while unhoused. Several even come back and work in the garden today; it’s a ministry that yields results.”

Featured in Northern Lights, May 18, 2023


Vacaville School Wings Ornithology Project

Vacaville School Wings Ornithology Project 2000 1125 Ken Miller

April 9- Students and teachers from the Vacaville school showed compassion when encountering a bird’s nest filled with abandoned eggs.

To ensure the safety of the nest from cars and pedestrians, they immediately surrounded it with traffic cones. Unfortunately, predators managed to snatch some of the eggs while leaving others behind within a day. Without hesitation, the students rescued the two remaining eggs, and with help from Principal Nancy Matthews, and teacher’s aide Danielle Porep-Hoath, a plan was hatched.

Finding a perfect teaching moment, Matthews and Porep-Hoath started to learn more about egg care and laughingly remarked, “We relied heavily on ‘Dr. Google’, and from there, we winged it!”

The students were taught about bird incubation and how the feathered parents keep eggs warm. Older students were assigned to rotate the eggs throughout the day using an artificial incubator purchased for the rescue. They also learned how backlighting an egg could reveal intricate internal structures and the growing bird within.

Finally, the day arrived, and everyone in the school was overjoyed to witness the arrival of two adorable goslings.

Matthews stated, “This experience created homework assignments and observation skills beyond count. We even learned that Canadian geese are very receptive to fostering chicks that aren’t their own.” Porep-Hoathnoted, “We found several nests within the Putah Creek area and placed the goslings in a likely home. A mother goose quickly accepted the newcomers, and off they floated into the water. We expect a long life for our birds!”

Featured in Northern Lights, May 18, 2023


Garrison Chaffee Installed At PUC Church

Garrison Chaffee Installed At PUC Church 2670 2936 Ken Miller

April 29- The PUC Church welcomed Garrison Chaffee as their new youth and associate pastor.

Chaffee, an alum of PUC, was most recently the associate pastor at the Napa Church and said about his new posting, “Coming back to campus has a special meaning for me. PUC provided my first ministry job at a time when I was headed in a different career direction. I fell in love with youth ministry during a summer internship program, and it’s a beautiful full circle moment to be back sharing Jesus on the same campus where I felt God calling me into ministry.”

Chaffee joins Nate Furness, senior pastor of the PUC Church, and Lem Garcia, associate pastor. They are passionate, hard workers excited to create a dynamic, community-relevant ministry. The reunited pastors make a complete ministry team.

Furness stated, “Garrison has a passion for connecting young people to Jesus. That passion fits our mission of demonstrating Jesus and preparing young people to serve God.”

Chaffee shares his life with Merilyn, his wife of 22 years. They have three children, Lilliana, a PUC Freshman; Makayla, a Junior at Prep; and Grayson, a Freshman at PUC Prep.

Featured in Northern Lights, May 11, 2023

First Responders Served and Celebrated at Camino

First Responders Served and Celebrated at Camino 2000 1125 Ken Miller

April 29- Members of the Camino Church showed their kindness and commitment to their community by hosting a church service and potluck to honor and celebrate first responders from El Dorado County and the Highway 50 corridor.

The event included many CAL FIRE personnel, California Highway Patrol, The Sheriff’s Department, and other first responders, who were all invited to attend.

Lloyd Ogen, head elder, and fire service chaplain, said, “The goal was to affirm these dedicated individuals and show them that they are never alone in our community and are always welcome in houses of faith throughout the county.”

During the service, Ogen quoted Micah 6:8 in his homily: “He has shown you, Oh man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God… those are values that every single agency and their personnel meet in some way every day.”

Nick Rose, Captain of CALFIRE for El Dorado County, wrote in a thank you letter, “I was overcome with gratitude for the generosity, love, and sense of community I experienced at the service. Sometimes it can be easy for first responders to get lost in the stresses of their job, but events like this make it all worth it.”

Featured in Northern Lights, May 11 2023

1195 800 Ken Miller

April 26-The Paradise Prayer Warriors team achieved first place at the Pathfinder Bible Experience in Florida.

The competition is commonly called the Bible Bowl, where 130 Pathfinder teams of up to six members compete. Each team memorizes a book or two of the Bible assigned for the event and answers related questions. The questions increase in difficulty with each round of the competition. A team must secure first place in their area, conference, union, and division-level events to reach the finals.

The Paradise team, consisting of four returning members and two new members, put in a lot of effort during their weekly meetings and occasional Zoom calls to learn the book of John and prepare for the Florida competition.

One of the new members, Joshua, stated, “It was hard to memorize in the beginning, but with Quizlet, it got a lot easier.” Another team member, Eden, said, “I think it was much fun. It was a good way to motivate me to memorize my scriptures, and I like how it got me to be with my friends more.”

Terry Parsons, Pathfinder leader, stated, “We’re hiding God’s Word in kids’ hearts, and even after a year, they remember those verses. Working together and quizzing each other strengthens the team and the Pathfinder Club.”

Featured in Northern Lights, May 11, 2023

Ruben Vargas Installed

Ruben Vargas Installed 575 677 Ken Miller

April 22- Ruben Vargas was installed as district pastor at the Napa and St. Helena Spanish Churches, and this weekend he will be installed at the Sonoma Spanish Company.

Recently, Vargas was pastor of the Tracy Spanish Church. He said about his move, “As I enter this new church district, my goal during the first few months can be summarized in one word: ‘Learn.’ I am community relevant and strive to learn a congregation’s history through fellowship with the members. I work to come alongside current projects and observe the heartbeat of a church congregation. I want to assimilate their needs and know their strengths. I want to learn from God what He wants for His church and my family as He leads us.”

Paul Guevara, Hispanic ministries coordinator, stated, “Pastor Ruben’s set of gifts and skills make him an ideal partner to work with his congregations in extending the Kingdom of God in that area.”

Vargas shares life with Madeleine, his wife, and they were recently blessed by the arrival of their son, Jared Benjamin, in January.

Featured in Northern Lights, May 4, 2023

Creative Dating Film Wins Award

Creative Dating Film Wins Award 2048 1365 Ken Miller

April 13- A film titled Advance Preparation, submitted by students from the Paradise Academy photo and cinematography class, won the Best High School Short award at the Sonscreen Film Festival.

The 14-minute story follows a student enlisting the help of classmates to plan an excessively elaborate way of asking a girl to a banquet. Teacher Caleb Rasmussen remarked, “The students who made the film and attended Sonscreen saw that the community of Adventists who are skilled, enthusiastic filmmakers are larger than they expected. They realized that there is a path for them to pursue filmmaking as a career—including at Adventist colleges—and to use the art of film to serve God.”

Megan Taylor, whose son Adin worked on the film, enthusiastically stated, “My son has immersed himself in the class and subject. When he attended the Sonscreen event, he was surprised that filmmaking wasn’t as secular as he thought. He came back knowing a clear path by which he, as a Christian, could make community-relevant Christian.”

Junior Haiden Shoemaker, director of the film, said, “Being able to make a film in high school with the opportunity and ability to win an award at Sonscreen was amazing. The photography and cinematography class at PAA is one of the best opportunities a high schooler interested in film can take.”

Featured in Northern Lights, May 4, 2023

Servants’ Hearts Showcased In Dominican Republic Neighborhood

Servants’ Hearts Showcased In Dominican Republic Neighborhood 1918 1006 Ken Miller

During spring break, the NCC youth ministries department sponsored a mission trip to the Dominican Republic (DR) that combined Pathfinders, Yuba City Church and School members, Lodi Academy, and Adventist volunteers from Kansas.

Trip leader Eddie Heinrich, youth ministries director, stated, “Our group grew as a result of several mission trips that were canceled or redirected for various reasons.”

The workers, 63 in number, descended on Santo Domingo, where the heat and humidity were met with positive attitudes and excitement. Karen Kanas, trip co-leader, posted on social media, “It’s much hotter today, but we got a good night’s rest, and everyone is having a good time! Did we mention the food is AMAZING?” This spirit would continue the entire trip.

The local Adventist members gained a sturdy church for worship and community service through the team’s passionate, hard work. Lauren Johnson, a parent, explained, “This building was larger than the standard Maranatha church plan and included complicated window shapes that took more time. But we tackled each obstacle as a team with grittiness and much laughter. By the last day of the trip, the walls were completed up to the roof line.”

While the construction team mixed mortar and laid block, another group, led mainly by the students, provided vacation bible school for the local children. This team assisted with crafts and other activities for 100 children daily. Costumed players acted out popular Bible stories while others translated the acts into Spanish.

Led by Tom Sanders, an accompanying optometrist, vision checks and care were offered to community neighbors. Kanas exclaimed, “There was a line of people down the street for the eye services, and over 600 pairs of glasses were distributed to the eager townspeople. God mightily blessed our efforts to minister in this country.”

Various mission trip veterans mentioned how this group integrated with the local congregation more than they had ever seen before. One worker stated, “The local congregation was such a lovely group! We were blessed to join them in this effort to expand their church presence and make a community-relevant impact.”

Heinrich laconically summed up the trip, “Blocks were laid, eyes were checked, and Jesus was shared with the kids and community that live near the island church—there is no better way to spend spring break than doing ministry.”

Featured in Northern Lights, May 4, 2023