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

Young Adult

Quick Acting Member Fights For Ukrainian Students

Quick Acting Member Fights For Ukrainian Students 2000 1125 Ken Miller

Fourteen months ago, Pacific Union College Church member Julie Lee witnessed her friend and fellow church member perform a contagiously kind act, engaging her church and community in ministry.


Jennifer Klingbeil was stunned by the war taking place in Ukraine. Of Ukrainian descent, she was devastated by the unfolding destruction of the invasion–a scene that left much of the world feeling helpless. However, Klingbeil was not one to watch as refugees flooded bordering countries. She jumped into action.


Klingbeil created “Mission: Ukraine,” a project to bring Adventist Ukrainian students displaced by the war to study at PUC. Her plan worked, and in collaboration with the college, church, community members, and business associates, enough donations were raised to bring five student refugees to America.


But her servant’s heart didn’t stop there. Klingbeil stated, “The students are grateful and have adapted relatively well. The college is doing everything possible to help them adjust to their situation.” She is working to keep them at PUC long enough to earn their degrees.

Klingbeil and her team have engaged their calling to ministry and shown servants’ hearts by following Matthew 25:35. “For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, I was a stranger, and you welcomed me.” (ESV)

Featured in Northern Lights, April 27, 2023

Paradise Juniors And Seniors Grow Up In DC

Paradise Juniors And Seniors Grow Up In DC 2000 1125 Ken Miller

The staff and teachers at Paradise Academy are passionate about preparing their students for life and ministry.

Preceding spring break, the Juniors and Seniors traveled to Washington, DC, as part of their history requirement.

History teacher, Sean McMurphy, explained, “This trip gave students a hands-on experience with the American government.” But the lessons on the trip went deeper than notable and historical dates and people.

After visiting the Holocaust Museum and the African American Museum senior Jenner Stabel remarked, “The Holocaust Museum made me think deeply about how we treat each other and the pain we cause one another.”

Haiden Schoemaker, a junior, stated, “After a brief meeting with “Senator Padilla on his 50th birthday. He encouraged me to get involved with local political candidates and learn more about the election process and skills needed to be a public servant.”

After visiting the Museum of the Bible, senior Calvin Thompson claimed, “It was one of my favorite museums. I enjoyed the interactive programming, and it made me look at the Bible in a new way.”

After an eventful week, including seeing the Presidential motorcade, museums, and monuments, Jamison Ibara, a senior, said, “Meeting Barry Black, senate chaplain and Seventh-day Adventist, really impressed me. I’m going home and applying his keys to success in my

Principal Linda Becker stated, “This DC tour was filled with miles and miles of walking, deadlines that each student met faithfully, and quite frankly, a wonderful group of students and tour.”

As lessons will be used to serve their community, the trip contributed heavily to the maturity of Paradise students as citizens and followers of Jesus.

Featured in Northern Lights, April 20, 2023

Journeys Of Pain, Joy, Service, and Excellence- Our Ten Women Pastors

Journeys Of Pain, Joy, Service, and Excellence- Our Ten Women Pastors 2062 1125 Ken Miller

By Laurie Trujillo

These ten women are making history and playing a vital role in connecting people to an abundant life in Jesus and preparing them for the Second Coming. We wish to recognize and celebrate their critical role in the Northern California Conference serving as pastors or ordained ministers. Sonia Cartwright is in the process of earning her Master of Divinity from Andrews University.

What is your favorite Bible verse?

They come from all walks of life but share a common and inspirational journey that centers on God. They shared some of their journey with us, opening my eyes to what it takes to be a female pastor. Here are some excerpts:

“What I strive for in life and ministry is stated in 1 John 4:12-13, ‘No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.'”

“I love Philippians 4:6-7, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ God has often used this to quiet my heart when things are tense. It reminds me that God hears and cares for me and that His peace transcends understanding.'”

“Proverbs 3:5-6, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.’ This is the formula to success in life, and it provides the answer when you don’t know what to do.”

What was your journey like? What challenges did you overcome?

One pastor stated, “All the pastors I knew were male, and I did not initially think women could be pastors. I did not question the system. I simply accepted it.” Although this pastor felt a call to serve and was given the talent to minister, it took a person she respected and admired to nudge her into her calling.

Another recalled, “I remember God extending the invitation to serve my sophomore year in college, but it took me years to answer the call.” She had to escape her “selfish perspective of thinking that I had to be perfect to be a pastor.”

Not only did these pastors have to overcome personal challenges, but they also had to face public pressure not to answer the call. They were bullied, called names, and laughed at when people found out they wanted to be a pastor.

One of our pastors explains the experience well, “It was hard getting past some of the comments people made discouraging me as a woman going into ministry. Ultimately, I had to look to Jesus and stay focused on him. Jesus is the One that has kept me standing in ministry.”

What is different about being a female pastor/leader vs. a male pastor/leader? Advantages? Disadvantages?

One pastor clearly explains, “There are, unfortunately, many issues that come up. In addition to the struggles of maintaining a successful mentor relationship with male colleagues, I have been stalked and told that specific dress colors make it difficult to look at me while preaching.”

Another pastor wrote, “I think being a female pastor is difficult because many leadership skills needed are considered ‘not feminine.’ For example, some members are uncomfortable with my decisions because they feel they are not lady-like.”

However, our women pastors feel the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. One pastor wrote, “In my experience, I can meet with women my male colleagues feel uncomfortable with.” Another describes, “There are church members who feel more comfortable opening up to a woman than a man, and so I hear stories that would have never been told otherwise.”

All our pastors agree that they get an overwhelming sense of joy when a person connects to Jesus and begins living an abundant life. They enjoy walking alongside individuals and families, learning their stories, and ministering to their needs.

If a young girl wants to be a pastor and leader in ministry, what advice would you give her?

“The same advice I received, ‘If there is anything else you want to do…do that.’ You won’t make it if you don’t believe you are called to minister. If you answer the call, practice self-care and connect with a mentor. Learn to lovingly say no, invest in your friends and family, and keep up with your hobbies, exercise, and take vacations!”

“Fully surrender your heart to God first. Let God hold and protect it. Your heart will break if God isn’t your priority in the tough moments that will surely come. Likewise, your heart will get prideful in the good moments if you aren’t focused on God.”

“As a woman going into ministry, I would double down on your identity in Christ. We, as women, struggle with our identity. As a blossoming leader, many people will try to shape you into what they think a woman leader should be. But when you are fully aware of who you are, in Christ, you can embrace your calling and not be swayed by other people’s thoughts and opinions.”

“Learn to recognize God’s voice. Remember, God is with you always and has a purpose for you. You are a daughter of God first and foremost, and never lose that dignity.”

Wrap Up

Women pastors have made history and continue to shape our story in the Northern California Conference. They have been called into ministry, and God has gone out before them. God has broken down obstacles so that they can be more effective in spreading the gospel. Their gender is an asset to connect with those who perhaps would have gone untouched. And their journey is inspiring.

Let’s celebrate all our pastors, especially recognizing and appreciating those women God calls to serve and lead!

Featured in Northern Lights, April 13, 2023

Magnificent Seven Take to the Streets

Magnificent Seven Take to the Streets 1823 1027 Ken Miller

Seven Rio Lindo Academy students proved they have servants’ hearts by engaging their local community with compassion.

Seniors Jair Barrios, Joseph Chen, Kuria Hamilton, Joshua Jesus, Federio Omolon, Jonathan Palomino, and Lolesio “Junior” Vitaliano recently chose to feed the unhoused residents in Santa Rosa during their last home leave.

Fighting boredom away from Rio, they “just decided to do something good.” Spending their own money to purchase food supplies, they assembled sack lunches of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheese puffs, and chips. According to one, “It’s what we would have wanted to eat and what we could afford!”

Ambling through downtown Santa Rosa, they found plenty of people who gratefully received the food. Many smiled, shook their hands, and said thank you, and some just ignored them, but all took the food. Joseph Chen, one of the seven, was asked his thoughts on buying, making, and handing out the food. He shyly responded, “I don’t know – I guess I felt kind of proud.”

Jennifer Rich, vice-principal of enrollment, said, “The students returned to school after home leave and presented Principal Mekey Lepulu with a video of their missionary adventure. They didn’t realize they had captured the hope of every educator, parent, and pastor – that young men, less than 90 days from their high school graduation, would spend their free time serving their neighbors.”

Rich concluded, “The act of service these Rio Lindo students exhibited is evidence of how important Christ is in our families, churches, and Adventist schools!”

Featured in Northern Lights, March16, 2023

ID:Me – Freshmen and Sophomores At Leoni

ID:Me – Freshmen and Sophomores At Leoni 2000 1125 Ken Miller

February 3- Over 300 Freshman and Sophomore students from the Pacific Union met at Leoni Meadows for a weekend of worship and training. This year’s theme focused on training young people to serve God in small groups and become leaders in their social groups.

Eddie Heinrich, director of youth and young adult ministries, said, “The ID: Me weekend was amazing. We were blessed with a historic number of students that didn’t let a little rain get in the way. They were committed and blessed with the fellowship.”

Featured in Northern Lights, March 2, 2023

Gym Night Engages East Bay Young People

Gym Night Engages East Bay Young People 960 720 Julie Lorenz
Every Saturday night, 70-80 teens and young adults from around the East Bay gather at Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy for gym night. Around 8 p.m., organizer Wayne Ogata offers an opening prayer, and they play volleyball and socialize until midnight.

Ninety percent of those who attend are not connected to the Adventist church. They learned about the gym night through friends and social media. Many play, but others come just to watch, socialize, and eat. Food is sometimes provided by the Pleasant Hill church and others. Last week, a taco truck stopped by!

A Pleasant Hill church member, Ogata works hard to ensure that everyone gets the opportunity to play in a positive environment. He began organizing gym nights because he loves the game, but he now realizes they make it easy to engage with young people.

Ben Saechao, a young adult from Oakland, has been coming to the gym nights for years. “You go to a lot of other gyms, and it’s kind of intimidating for new players,” he said. “Wayne makes it clear that it’s all just for fun—a way to socialize and meet new friends and have a good time.”

Ogata is planning to invite participants to several pre-volleyball worship services during the holidays. However, he realizes that friendship is the best way to reach these young people. “One of them told me, ‘You don’t have to talk about church; the kids are going to ask you,’” he said. “We have kids showing up who haven’t been to church in years. You never know where it’s going to lead.”

LIFE Church of Berkeley Hosts Fall Festival

LIFE Church of Berkeley Hosts Fall Festival 640 481 Julie Lorenz
On Nov. 6, the LIFE church of Berkeley invited university students and neighborhood families to a Fall Festival. About 70 people enjoyed a meal and fun autumn activities, including a country hymn singalong, a chili cook-off, a pumpkin pie eating context, and the Tony Hannah Country Band.
“People commented how great it was to be together and sing some well-known songs and share some delicious home-cooked food together,” said Carolyn Pickell, church events coordinator. “What a great evening of fun, bringing students, neighbors, and friends of our church community together in celebration of fellowship and the change of seasons!”