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


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


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

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

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

Burned Out?

Burned Out? 2000 1125 Ken Miller

Hope springs anew at Leoni Meadows!

Amid guests using the facilities for various retreats, the staff and contractors have been tirelessly working to move forward on recovery.

The barn has been completed, the new wilderness camp area is being prepared, the new pool footprint has been dug, and the land where the new multipurpose building (formally crafts building) has been cleared. Craftsmen will work throughout the spring to rebuild this essential structure. Most recently, after clear-cutting dead/dangerous trees, hundreds of thousands of baby trees have been planted all over the property.

Although Leoni was “burned out,” new springs are flowing where there was never water before, partly due to the overabundance of snow, but also just part of the natural recovery process. The recovery process at Leoni Meadows is a physical reminder of God’s promise in Isiah 58:11, “The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose water does not fail.” (NKJV)

When you feel “burned out” and need a break – visit Leoni and let the “…God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NKJV)

Featured in Northern Lights, April 20, 2023

Pathfinders Cycle To Puerto Rico And Back*

Pathfinders Cycle To Puerto Rico And Back* 2000 1125 Ken Miller

April 2- Northern California Pathfinders gathered at the foot of the Sierra Buttes mountain range for a day of cycling.

Eddie Heinrich, pathfinder, and youth ministry director beamed, “It was amazing how after a brutal winter, the weather cooperated! The sun was out, the temperature perfect, and it was an outstanding day.”

190 riders donned helmets and mounted bicycles to raise money for their clubs. The course, a straight one-mile road up and back, was divided down the middle, and riders moseyed, cruised, or zoomed up and back all day. For one rider, fifty-three laps sealed a 106-mile record of the day.

Another 200 attendees, including parents, leaders, and club cooks, provided tasty treats, including the ever-popular corn dog, cotton candy, pupusas, and potato tacos. Benji Ferguson, associate pastor of the Carmichael Church, stated, “I’ve been to many bike-a-thons, but this one definitely had the best food court! Riding bikes was fun too.”

Heinrich concluded, “Our Pathfinders rode more than a combined 7,000 miles in support of their clubs, which serve the youth of their respective churches and community. I am very proud of each rider, parent, leader, and club participating.”

* Comparative total miles ridden

Featured in Northern Lights, April 6, 2023

Character And Sportsmanship On The Court

Character And Sportsmanship On The Court 582 388 Ken Miller

By Lauren Johnson

Lodi Academy and Central Valley Christian Academy (CVCA) boys’ basketball teams recently faced each other at the PUC Invitational Basketball Tournament.

The two schools often play against each other, and while friends, the competition is always stiff.

CVCA had come to the tournament with only five players, one nursing a hurt ankle. So, when they met in the playoff rounds, the suspense was high.

The game was close, with the lead never more than a few points either way. Midway through the second half, the player with the injured ankle could no longer play. This left the CVCA team with four players. The Lodi team had five players. It looked like it was going to be a five-to-four matchup.

As the CVCA coach gathered his team of four, and the whistle to restart imminent, spectators wondered if the game was figuratively over. The crowd could be heard murmuring understandable comments such as, “this game is over” and “this will be interesting.”

However, on Lodi’s bench, head coach Mike Unterholzner looked to his assistant and asked, “Just to confirm, we’re going with four, right?”

Fans sitting near could hear the assistant firmly say, “absolutely!” without hesitation.

At that point, the four remaining CVCA players took the floor, but as agreed, the Lodi team sent only four players out to keep the game even.

Although the Lodi team won, the game was fair because of a character-defining decision by the coach. This decision sent a clear message to the fans and the players that although a competitive sport, the value of good sportsmanship and fair play is paramount.

Another Lodi parent said, “It was a spine-tingling moment to see sportsmanship from our coaches and players like this. It made me proud of the character taught, learned, and exhibited by our coaches and players.”

One parent stated after the game, “Our Christian coaches find character-teaching moments in competitive sports by valuing sportsmanship, fair play, and attitudes toward winning and losing. How you play defines who you are, and true victory is measured not only by the final score but by how you treat your opponents.”

This is a life lesson many of the players took home that night.

Featured in Northern Lights, March 23, 2023

Musical Inspires Students and Community

Musical Inspires Students and Community 2000 1125 Ken Miller

On the weekends of February 18 and 25, Pine Hills Academy showcased its live presentation of Les Miserables, which became a community-relevant outreach.

The two-weekend theatrical production marked the tenth year of drama at Pine Hills. First-time Stage Director and Producer Lorelie Krussow stated, “Creating this production was an incredible experience that included community, parents, students, and school staff to pull off.”

The famous story of industrialist ex-convict Jean Valjean’s reformation in 19th century France featured spectacular costumes created by parents Heather Wells, Deborah Price, and a cast of volunteers. According to Krussow, the wardrobe team found or made each garment from curtains, sheets, and any source of fabric they could find.”

Parent Jenell Wareham reported that thirty-one of the school’s thirty-six students were involved in the production. Responsibilities included singing, acting, lighting, audio-visual, curtains, and every other job behind the scenes. Krussow, also the school’s English teacher, gushed, “The transformation we see in students year after year after going through the play is difficult even to articulate – but what we see clearly is authentic teamwork at its peak.”

Musical Director Terri Taaffe was responsible for turning high-school students into Broadway(esque) performers. According to several volunteers, “Terri was an inspiration that motivated and inspired the students to reach deep when performing this complex musical.” A song from the play was even sung live on Sacramento’s TV Fox40.

With the added notoriety, one community attendee, with no affiliation with Pine Hills, said, “I never knew this school was in my community! I couldn’t believe the quality of the production I saw tonight.” Reflecting on similar interactions, Krussow stated, “One lady from our community asked for a stack of flyers to distribute among her neighbors!”

Krussow concluded, “The overall production of a play builds student confidence. We see confidence transfers from drama to leadership roles they take on, their public speaking skills, and their willingness to participate upfront in their local churches.”

Principal David Carreon added, “This wasn’t just another theater production. It was a community builder that included musicians, volunteers, and even donors without school or church affiliation. This event truly connected Pine Hills to our community.”

Featured in Northern Lights, March 9, 2023

Acts Of Kindness

Acts Of Kindness 1908 993 Ken Miller

On October 7, students from Chico Oaks school served their community in unique ways.

Each class team chose an act of kindness for someone in their community.

The kindergarten class collected donations for the Butte Humane Society and delivered them to the animals. Students in first and second grade gave out flowers and appreciation letters around the neighborhood. Third and fourth graders picked up trash, and grades fifth to eighth cleaned up a local park and wrote letters to local veterans.

Principal Leslie Bartsch said, “These types of service opportunities set Adventist education apart from the rest. When academics and acts of service show love to our neighbors, we can foster an atmosphere of quality instruction and spiritual growth.”

Featured in Northern Lights November 10, 2022