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


Pathfinders Find Leoni Fantastic!

Pathfinders Find Leoni Fantastic! 2000 1125 Ken Miller

October 6 – Pathfinders from our territory met at Leoni Meadows for their annual Camporee.

Over 600 campers from 35 clubs arrived for a weekend of spiritual renewal, fun activities, and work. Services were full of singing and praying, and the theme of the weekend, Live Love Now, was masterfully presented by Rudy Alvir, youth and young adult director of the Nevada-Utah Conference.

The Pathfinders marched in a parade with colorful banners and flags from around the world. In breakout sessions, many worked on new honors that included CPR, geology, and first aid. Other groups worked on camp renewal projects, including moving limbs into burn piles, spreading bark in the church bowl, and preparing old fence posts for future use. One of the highlights was when Pathfinders explored new camping areas that will be used annually for this and other events.

Eddie Heinrich, NCC youth and young adult director, stated, “We owe a big thank you to all the Pathfinders and their leaders that came and received a spiritual blessing and helped prepare Leoni Meadow as the future home of this event.”

Featured in Northern Lights, October 19, 2023

Pets and Products Pull Eager Locals to Lodi Campus

Pets and Products Pull Eager Locals to Lodi Campus 2000 1125 Ken Miller

For 78 years, the Lodi Elementary Pet and Hobby Fair has drawn community members to a Sunday of furry fun and shopping.

Students and visitors flooded the campus, checking out the farm craft store, playing games, and enjoying delicious food. A petting zoo provided giggling children with a lot of fuzzy fun. First responders and other community service organizations shared information from each of their pavilions.

Lisa Nuss, Lodi Elementary principal, explained, “This event offers the school many fundraising opportunities that directly benefit the kids. It also provides fellowship and fun between our school and our community.”

Karen Kanas, parent, and board member, stated, “This yearly event is a highlight for current students, families, and those who return year after year to relive the fun!”

Featured in Northern Lights, October 19, 2023

Stockton’s Soapy Service

Stockton’s Soapy Service 1893 981 Ken Miller

September 24- The Stockton Central Church sponsored a community car wash put on by the church youth leaders.

David Peckham, lead pastor, explained, “This event was designed to engage with our neighborhood and as a fundraiser for the youth department. We did not charge a fee for each washed car but accepted donations, and many cars queued up for a scrub.”

The enthusiastic washers scurried around each car, quickly soaping, rinsing, and drying cars. While waiting, drivers could peruse a rummage sale in the gymnasium, hosted by the primary sabbath school parents and children.

Peckham continued, “One visitor who had his truck washed exclaimed that he was impressed by such a positive experience and how impressive it was to see youth working so hard. After his truck was dried, he left the site and returned later with a flat of bottled water as a gift for all the workers!”

One parent stated, “This was a unique opportunity to engage the community, for families to work together for a good cause, and mentor our youth to work with passion and a purpose.”

Featured in Northern Lights, October 12, 2023

The Adventure of Cycling

The Adventure of Cycling 1923 1008 Ken Miller

October 1-Over 200 riders and 300 more family members and support staff turned out for the annual Adventurers Bike Derby.

Sacramento Adventist Academy’s (SAA) campus was alight with young cyclists waiting for the start signal while homemade food and drinks prepared by different Adventurer clubs excited the hungry visitors. And ride they did! Barry van Iderstein, NCC children and family ministry director, estimated the total miles ridden added up to over 1,000!

The SAA campus was complete with cook tents, rest areas, games, and weekend mechanics. With the enthusiasm of a Tour de France crowd, parents cheered riders as young as four and as old as ten.

The helmeted packs of riders took turns on the track, with younger riders out first and more experienced riders moving much faster. A third track was reserved for the riders on tricycles and training wheels. There was something for each bicyclist and tricyclist to enjoy.

Van Iderstein stated, “This event wouldn’t be possible without the extremely hard work and dedication of the Adventurer area coordinators, their families, and the help of several volunteers and SAA representatives. We are already looking forward to October 6, 2024, when the next derby takes place.”

Featured in Northern Lights, October 12, 2023

El Dorado Salutes 9/11 Victims

El Dorado Salutes 9/11 Victims 2000 1125 Ken Miller

September 11—El Dorado Adventist School commemorated the 9/11 tragedy with a flag-raising ceremony and affirmed invited first responders from the El Dorado County area.

The school has remembered the victims for over a decade and celebrated local first responders. Principal Marty Sutton thanked Bonnie Daggett for “spearheading this event that provides unity between our children, the school, the church, and public servants.”

Invited local Sheriff, Police, and Fire personnel lined the school parking lot with their trucks as students led the group in raising the American flag, singing the national anthem, and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Jeff Leikauf, El Dorado County Sheriff, spoke of why it’s important to remember 9/11 and teach our children about it. “We are blessed to live in a country and a county that can come together in remembrance and unity. On that fateful day, we saw the residents of New York and a nation standing strong in the face of adversity and selflessness. It is important that our young people learn that a knowledge of history enhances the power to reshape the future they can be the light in the darkness and make the world a better place.”

After the service, students presented the assembled first responders with handmade crafts and care packages, each with a written thank-you. Marty Sutton, principal, stated, “Thank you go to our first responders for caring each day in service to our school and our community.”

One fire official remarked, “Events like these are why many join the ranks of public service. To serve the public and then go home and feel appreciated for their chosen jobs, nothing more.”

Featured in Northern Lights, September 21, 2023

Students Turn Ice and Sugar Into Aid For Maui

Students Turn Ice and Sugar Into Aid For Maui 1893 981 Ken Miller

On August 23, students, alumni, parents, teachers, and grandparents met at Pine Hills Academy to play and watch football.

The event, attended by Paradise Academy, Chico church, and players from several schools, provided an excellent opportunity for several enterprising students with servant’s hearts. Their goal was to raise money for victims of the Maui wildfires.

Students Kylie, Megan, and Audrey demonstrated passionate, hard work by selling shaved ice all morning to over 200 fans. Their efforts benefitted the Maui SDA education fund, and the proceeds were sent through the Hawaii Conference.

Sam Munoz, Pine Hills athletic director, stated, “It’s great to see young people coming together to have fun and support a cause. Our thoughts and prayers continue with our Ohana (family) in Maui.”

Featured in Northern Lights, August 7, 2023

Putting the Camp in Campmeeting

Putting the Camp in Campmeeting 1920 1000 Ken Miller

Roman Tsyganiuk, pastor of the Sacramento Slavic church, recently emerged from the wilderness. He humorously reported, “For almost all of July, I had to live in the forest.”

His task was directing the well-attended Slavic camp meetings held in weeklong sessions each summer near Forest Hill. For several weeks, different retreats serve families, a men’s group, youth, and Pathfinders. They all come to experience nature and worship together in their native tongue.

This year, during youth camp, young people from as far away as New York and Washington State came to make friends and worship God in nature. During the Pathfinder week, Tsyganiuk reported, “15 of the 50 attendees were new kids from our neighborhood that were not even Adventist!” During the family camp, community members who came by invitation committed to attending or becoming members of the Slavic and Ukrainian churches.

Tsyganiuk concluded, “The weeks we spend together create much positive interaction among members of our heritage. We thank God for this fantastic experience!”

Featured in Northern Lights, August 7, 2023

Summer On The Run

Summer On The Run 2000 1125 Ken Miller

The NCC Youth Department recently concluded its Summer on the Run traveling caravan of fun and evangelism.

This annual summer outreach program served almost 800 youth at ten locations throughout our territory. Eddie Heinrich, NCC youth director, stated, “It was an outstanding summer connecting with not only our Adventist kids but countless others in each community we visited.”

One of the larger turnouts the last two summers has been the days spent at the Crescent City church. This year, 124 local children came to play on the waterslide and engage in the activities.

Doors were specially opened when the troupe arrived in Vallejo, California. Heinrich noted, “What began with a cool yet professional reception from the public park system turned enthusiastic when officials realized that we were coming to serve the youth of their community for free. They even cut the fee in half to set up at the park. The Holy Spirit was certainly moving there.”

Heinrich concluded, “The response to this outreach never ceases to amaze me.

Featured in Northern Lights, August 7, 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

5,700 NAD Teachers Unite in Phoenix

5,700 NAD Teachers Unite in Phoenix 2000 1125 Ken Miller

August 8-10 found all NAD educators in one town, Phoenix. Greeted by triple-digit heat.

But that didn’t deter 5,700 teachers, administrators, and conference personnel from reconnecting with old friends, making new ones, and committing to Adventist education’s vital work.

The four-day event happens every five years and combines a camp-meeting component while providing continuing education classes, educational guest speakers, breakout sessions, and a vendor convention. One teacher stated, “I love this event because it reinforces a unity between teachers, and I love being connected to a cause bigger than myself.”

Albert Miller, NCC education superintendent, remarked, “This event is not only for teachers to learn, unwind, and renew friendships. It’s also a venue to recruit new teachers to the NCC. We have the opportunity to meet with dozens of potential teachers for our territory. It’s an important tool to keep our schools filled with quality educators.”

Coreen Hicks, NCC associate superintenent, stated, “To be among other Adventist educators was a reminder that our NCC teachers are just a small part of a greater team, one that spans coast-to-coast, preparing for 180 days of evangelism, teaching, and connecting our students to an abundant life in Jesus.”

Featured in Northern Lights, August 24, 2023