Pacific Union Recorder—May 2023

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Sowing the Seeds and Reaping the Harvest

“I Will Return” It’s Only About Jesus

Angel on the Road to Santa Cruz

Your Target: To Be Like Jesus

Learn more about PUC! (800) 862-7080

One soul saved from error and brought under the banner of Christ, will cause joy in heaven, and place a star in your crown of rejoicing. A soul saved will, through his godly influence, bring other souls to a knowledge of salvation, and thus the work will multiply, and only the revealings of the day of judgment will make manifest the extent of the work. Do not hesitate to work for the Lord because you think you can do but little. Do your little with fidelity, for God will work with your efforts. He will write your name in the book of life as one worthy to enter into the joy of the Lord. Let us earnestly entreat the Lord that laborers may be raised up, for the fields are white to the harvest; the harvest is great, and the laborers are few.

—Ellen G. White, The Review and Herald, April 3, 1913


Publisher Ray Tetz

Editor Alberto Valenzuela

Assistant Editor

Connie Jeffery


Stephanie Leal • Alberto Valenzuela

Printing Pacific Press Publishing Association

4 “I Will Return”

8 Angel on the Road to Santa Cruz

12 Sowing the Seeds and Reaping the Harvest

16 Your Target: To Be Like Jesus

21 Newsdesk: William G. Johnsson Tribute


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What’s inside
PACIFIC UNION The Recorder is a monthly publication reaching approximately 76,000 Seventh-day
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Postal Regs: The Pacific Union Recorder (ISSN 0744-6381), Volume 123, Number 5, is the official journal of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day
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Sunset Calendar May 2023 3

Will Return”

Luke 15:18 tells of a transformational moment toward which the prodigal son has been heading for years. His arrival at this moment was not planned, but it was scripted. Every act of this young man’s life was leading him directly to this moment.

There was nothing anyone could do to keep him from arriving here. It is almost as if he took a car and placed it on the road with the navigation set in this intended direction. And he didn’t want anyone to tell him anything different. There would be no detours.

If the truth were told, everyone reading this, including me, has lived and followed this script—although for most of us, it is a milder version. We have all lived some variation of the exploration of a “far country.” We all have taken some form of this journey.

Some of us got there before others. Some of us passed near enough to smell the pigs and the slop. Some just missed being ruined because the grace of God the Almighty shielded us.

Maybe you are at that place right now. Maybe you are just a step away. Maybe today God intends to save you from you.

I would like to suggest that this young man, this prodigal from the story found in Luke 15, was a special young man.

My reasoning as to why he was special is found in the text. Despite how we feel about him, and despite his initial blunders, there is one thing that this young man got right. When it counted, the prodigal made the right choice.

Jesus told this story as an object lesson for you and me. And He left this story here as a reminder that lost people don’t have to remain lost. You see, this story doesn’t work without the fateful moment and decision—the moment he made the decision to not remain lost, to no longer be a prodigal.

This story works because the prodigal determined in his heart

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and mind, “I will leave and return to my father” (Luke 15:18, ICB).

When we read this story, we will always think of this young man as a prodigal. However, the moment he arrived home, he was no longer considered a prodigal. He was considered a son.

What this son didn’t know was that God had given his parents a road map that clearly outlined instructions about how he could get back home when he was in big trouble: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6, KJV). That “training up” was like an invisible divine microchip with a road map in his head that could be triggered when he arrived at this crucial moment in his life.

So, when he arrived at the exact moment where hunger, depravation, loneliness, betrayal, and disgrace converged at the exact same time, the processor that God instructs parents to implant in

the hearts of their most precious gift, their children, turned on and began to read the implanted microchip, which had specific instructions from God. It simply said, “Go home.”

When the chip had been activated in this young man, he responded in the affirmative to the voice of the Spirit of God. And he said, “I will return.”

Let me disabuse you of the notion that everyone will immediately respond in the way this young man did. That is not true. I learned from an early age that when the decision is made to go to a far country, not everyone makes it home safely.

As a young boy, I personally observed friends arrive at that consequential moment and fail to declare, “I will return” or “I will go home.”

All of us, from time to time, hear the still, small voice. But not everyone responds in the affirmative to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Let me suggest that you or someone you know


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“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

may still be at the place where the train wreck occurred. You or someone you know may still be awaiting the moment of ultimate transformation.

No matter where you or someone you love may be, the truth is we all still remember how and why we made the same bad choices.

But praise God for the microchip, the road map, the preprogrammed voice navigation of the still, small voice of the Spirit of God.

Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here.

The sad reality is that there are countless millions around the globe whom God longs to hear declare, “Lord, I will return.” It is up to us, His children, to share the good news of God’s great love and His longing to have the rest of His children home.

As you bask daily in the renewal and peace that a changed and transformed life brings, remember that there are millions who long for what we sometimes take for granted.

If you have somehow forgotten that you are loved by the one who is the Author, Creator, and Fulfillment of love, remember that you can return. Just close your eyes right now and talk to your Best

Friend. Tell Him exactly where it hurts. Tell Him how you feel. Don’t leave anything out. He is longing to hear from you again.

Then begin to recharge. We are recharged each day when we spend those moments alone with God. When I go AWOL and/or get too busy to stop and recharge or refill, it is as if I am running on empty. When I think about this condition, I am reminded of the words I heard a preacher say when I was a boy: “Much prayer, much power; little prayer, little power; no prayer, no power.”

As you listen attentively to the preprogrammed navigation device that is daily leading you to our heavenly home, don’t forget the moment that changed your life forever.

Praise God, there is power available to each one of us. But what about the others who don’t know of this power? Show them in a glorious expression of God’s amazing love—demonstrate the gospel by the way you live your life. If necessary, use words.

Leon B. Brown Sr. is the executive vice president of the Pacific Union Conference.

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It is up to us, His children, to share the good news of God’s great love and His longing to have the rest of His children home.

Angel on the Road

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them (Psalm 34:7, NIV).

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to Santa Cruz

The torrential downpour and deafening thunder echoed through the pitch-black fields as I trudged along the rocky dirt road to my next assignment.

As a young pastor, I travelled this route regularly and knew it like the back of my hand. It was a typical Philippine country road, frequented during the day by a steady stream of tricycles and jeepneys that slowed their pace to compensate for the bumps and dust. The typhoon had turned the dirt to mud, and except for the occasional flash of lightning providing a split-second of spatial reference, each successive step was a guess in the dark.

It was Friday evening, approaching midnight, and I had been hitchhiking my way north since breakfast. The previous day, a workers’ meeting had concluded at the local mission headquarters. The reason for my trip was a Sabbath morning appointment in the village of Santa Cruz in the Northern Philippines where a district fellowship for my 33 churches was to be held. The trip that would normally have taken 10 hours had doubled due to the weather.

The hum of a diesel motor in the distance behind me slowly displaced the monotonous roar of the wind and rain. Moments later, a pair of headlights flooded the deserted stretch of road ahead. I turned around to gesture for a ride. The large logging truck creaked to a stop as the driver called out through the half-open passenger’s window, “Where are you headed?”

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“Santa Cruz,” I shouted over the noise.

“I’m going that direction. Hop in.”

I jumped on board, Bible in hand, grateful for the shelter and relative safety onboard the vehicle. Perhaps what I was most grateful for was the company, as the region we were approaching was an insurgent hotspot where regular killings by roaming guerrilla bands was the norm. I engaged in small talk with the driver as we made bumpy progress, saying a silent prayer of thanks for the timely blessing.

As we drove through the storm, my thoughts turned to the words in Isaiah: “Fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10, NKJV). My body breathed a sigh of relief and my soul felt at peace. I must have fallen asleep for some time because the next thing I remember was a persistent tap on my shoulder and the driver saying, “Hey sir, this is as far as we’re going.”

“Where are we?” I mumbled, half awake.

“We’re at The Junctions.”

The words sent a shiver down my spine. I was wide awake now.

The Junctions were a pair of intersections along this particular stretch of the highway where it would be wise to watch your back during the day—and you definitely should avoid it after dark. Territorial militia groups ran rampant in the region, and their cold-blooded ways caused many travelers to seek detours to avoid encounters. However, on this rainy night, I had no choice as this was the quickest route to my Sabbath destination.

I exited the truck and sank slightly into the familiar mud and puddles that I had been spared for the past few hours. With renewed energy from the much-needed rest, I continued forward. Stray dogs barked in the darkness ahead, angered by my approaching footsteps. Flashes of lightning illuminated the vast fields around me as well as the bifurcation in the path several yards ahead—the first junction.

Suddenly, the buckets of rain decrescendoed

to a drizzle. The barking stopped. As I entered the first junction, an eerie stillness hung in the air. Proceeding cautiously, I favored the right side of the road while intentionally keeping slightly center to avoid the irrigation ditch to my right. Who knew what lurked in its shadows? My quiet procession continued, punctuated by the smacking of my shoes through the mud. The drizzle slowed to a floating spray. The silence was deafening.

The next flash of lightning lit up my surroundings. Did I just see movement out of the corner of my eye? I glanced quickly to my left where I thought I had seen motion. The darkness was thicker than before—I could not see my hand in front of my face, let alone several feet across the road. Surely, my imagination was playing tricks on me! It was impossible that someone else could have been traveling on that same road. If it was so, the dogs would have gone ballistic. However, they were hushed and I had heard no footsteps other than my own.

Another flash. There definitely was a figure! No doubt about it. As if by reflex, I clutched my Bible closer to my chest. Was this a friend or a foe? Perhaps it was one of the insurgents, and he had been stalking me since I had gotten off the truck.

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But why didn’t I hear any footsteps?

“Fear not, for I am with you.” This was the promise I needed now!

My racing thoughts were interrupted by a voice from across the road.

“Hello there.”

“Hello,” I responded cautiously.

“Where are you going at this time of night?” the stranger asked.

“I’m on my way to a meeting tomorrow. I’m a pastor for some local churches,” I answered.

“Ah, I see. Doing God’s work,” was the reply. Although I was on high alert, I sensed a gentle quality in the stranger’s voice. Still, I wondered, where did my companion come from? This area was far removed from civilization, with no homes or businesses for miles around.

The misty drizzle continued with the occasional flash of lightning. The dogs were still quiet. The solitary sound of my footsteps persisted in the silence.

For the next half hour, my companion and I continued our conversation across the road. All the while, the faint glow from the kerosene lamps of Santa Cruz grew brighter as we neared the second junction at the outskirts of town.

Together we walked through the second junction—the stranger on the left side of the road, myself on the right. I was relieved to see that the intersection was empty. There had been several killings at this spot in the weeks prior.

Right before the edge of town, the showers ceased and the night was still, accented only by distant booms of thunder behind us. My companion

took a few steps closer. I could almost make out his face in the gathering light.

“Listen,” he said, “you need to be careful when traveling through these parts. I’m sure you know that this is a bad area. So be safe. You still have much to accomplish.”

Looking over at him I said, “Thank you, I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Keep preaching the truth,” he continued.

“I’m sorry, what was your name?” I turned to inquire. But he was gone. I looked back and forth, but my companion had disappeared just as suddenly as he had come.

As I settled in for the night, still reeling from what I had just experienced, the words that had given me courage throughout my trip were never more true than they were now: “Fear not, for I am with you.”

Personally, I believe that my guardian angel was revealed to me as my companion that night while I traversed through dangerous territory. Someday, the Master will explain the details of the events that transpired on the road to Santa Cruz.

For now, I am certain that whatever challenges befall us, the eyes of the Master are ever upon us, and His angels continue their vigilant watch over His people.

This chapter is from the soon-to-be-released book, Angel on the Road to Santa Cruz by VicLouis G. Arreola, an autobiographical collection of experiences from 40+ years as a minister and evangelist. Dr. Arreola serves as vice president for Asian Pacific Ministries of the Pacific Union Conference.

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I was relieved to see that the intersection was empty. There had been several killings at this spot in the weeks prior.

Sowing the Seeds and

What happens when you mix a passionate calling for evangelism with a church that actively works on sowing the seed of Christ’s gospel in their community? Miracles! Miracles happen!

Though actively engaged in the details of administration at the Pacific Union, President Bradford Newton never gave up his true calling, which is our calling as a church, to preach the gospel to all the world. Last year, through the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit, Newton felt it was time to focus on evangelism. He looked to his friend and colleague, Alberto Ingleton, vice president for Hispanic ministries, to help him find a church where he could be used by God to bless others.

“I felt impressed that I should preach a series; the Spirit moved my heart. I didn’t know the church, but I trusted Alberto,” said Newton.

When deciding on who to approach, Ingleton focused on finding a church that had the willingness and capability to first plant seeds in its community and then reap a bountiful harvest through a week of evangelism.

“Many churches want evangelists to come to their church, but they don’t recognize the need of first sowing the seeds,”

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“It was a miracle. I’ve helped lead many evangelistic campaigns, and only very few times have I seen this type of attendance. It's not common.”

said Ingleton, “It can be very frustrating when the evangelist comes and it’s a surprise for everyone because the soil is not fertile—there has been no work prior to reach out and develop a relationship with the community and the church as a whole.”

Ingleton quickly recognized, through prior collaborations with Pastor Gustavo Mendez, that Iglesia El Camino a Cristo (Steps to Christ church) was the perfect reaping ground for an evangelistic week. He had worked with Mendez during prior meetings and knew this young pastor, a hard worker, understood not only the mission he was called to do but also the mission his church was called for. Ingleton saw that Mendez actively trains his church to lead and gives them tools to reach

out to the community and bring them to the family of Christ.

When Ingleton reached out to Mendez, his church was already engaged in building relationships through their food bank ministry. “It was the largest coordinated food bank effort I had ever seen,” said Newton. Before mentioning Bible studies or issuing invitations to worship, the church wanted its community to know they cared for them. They served their needs throughout the pandemic, providing much-needed resources.

After building trust and relationships and showing their concern for the wellbeing and health of those around them, they then began to invite the community to Bible studies. After receiving the

Reaping the Harvest

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call from Ingleton, with a re-energized focus and vigor, they continued their work of sowing seeds, conducting up to 75 Bible studies.

“I believe it was God that put all the pieces in place and made this a success,” said Mendez.

The series began Sabbath, March 4. It was a fortuitous coincidence that the church, which actually was a company at the time, had planned that date to celebrate the change of status from company to church. They could think of no better way to kick off becoming an official church than to launch an evangelistic series.

Each night Newton spoke new messages of hope and Ingleton translated. “Christ our Fountain of Joy” was the theme, and the messages were accompanied by special musical praise through

singer Herendira Montavlo from the Arizona Conference.

The diligent work of the church in preparing people’s hearts to receive the Word of God was clearly evident. Generally, in any series or week of prayer, attendance, while high on weekends, dwindles throughout the work week. That was not the case in this instance. Attendance, while high on Sabbath, only continued to grow and grow.

“It was a miracle,” said Ingleton. “I’ve helped lead many evangelistic campaigns, and only very few times have I seen this type of attendance. It's not common.”

Ingleton attributes the success of the series to two factors: first, God’s Spirit leading the active involvement of the pastor and members in

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“I believe it was God that put all the pieces in place and made this a success.” - Pastor Gustavo Mendez

and enthusiastic Christ-centered messages that the Lord spoke through Pastor Newton.

Adding to the physical attendance, the church collaborated with TV Tu Mundo, an Adventist media organization, to livestream the entire series. The Lord blessed this partnership, and through it, Newton’s messages of hope gained over 95,000 views.

It was a tremendous experience and a week full of blessings.

People eagerly and attentively received the Word of God. The week culminated with a high Sabbath of 23 baptisms. Families gathered and music filled the air. Love and warmth were felt throughout the sanctuary. The joyful celebration included the baptism of one

individual who frequently arrived drunk to church. By God’s grace, he accepted the gift of salvation that comes through Jesus Christ.

God truly blesses and continues to use His people to spread His word. Praise the Lord for His infinite mercy and grace, and may all of us allow the Lord to use us for His great commission!

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YOUR TARGET: To Be Like Jesus

Of all the requests that the gospel makes of us, the most difficult are those that have to do with physical suffering. We are willing to leave father, mother, siblings, spouses, children, home, possessions, and homeland for the gospel. Somehow it makes us feel righteous to consider ourselves dispossessed for the Lord's sake. While we might not complain to God about poverty, when problems touch our skin, we become irritable. Of all our possessions, the most valuable is the one we wear. We keep our flesh safe because when it gets hurt, it is felt deeply.

In the Sermon on the Mount, after describing the character that should be found among His followers, Jesus added the most paradoxical of all the beatitudes:

“Blessed are those who suffer persecution for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when for my sake they revile you and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you, lying. Rejoice and rejoice, for your reward is great in heaven; for thus they persecuted the prophets, who went before you” (Matthew 5:10-12, my paraphrase).

The eighth beatitude is completely different from the others. The Lord could well have ended with the seventh beatitude, but this beatitude completes the picture. The first seven have to do with character; this one has to do with the condition of His followers. The first

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seven have to do with the internal quality of their souls; this one is concerned with their external relationships. The first seven can be developed in the spirit, without any connection to the world; however, this last beatitude indicates what the Lord expects His followers to deal with in the world.

The main emphasis with which the Sermon on the Mount begins comes to a climax with this serious truth: those who live faithfully according to the first seven beatitudes are guaranteed to experience the eighth beatitude at some point. Those who live correctly will inevitably be persecuted for the sake of justice. Piety breeds hostility and antagonism from the world. The ultimate hallmark of a happy person is persecution! The children of the kingdom are rejected by the world. The saints are singularly blessed, but they have a price to pay.

This beatitude tells us that as Christians, we will be regarded as enemies of the world. Jesus does not tell us to expect persecution for His cause in order to frighten us. Jesus was practical. Jesus is telling us the truth because that was His own experience. Jesus was poor in spirit, wept and suffered for the sin of the world, was humble, was hungry and thirsty for righteousness, was merciful and pure of heart, and came to make peace. Sadly, it was those qualities that led Him to the cross.

But I want you to be clear about what this beatitude is not saying. It does not say, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because their customs are weird." It does not say, "Blessed are those who are difficult to get along with." We often encounter Christians who suffer persecution because of the way they behave, the way they deal with other people. Being a Christian does not mean being rude. It does not mean behaving in such a way that we reproach everyone for their way of life. It doesn't mean we're going to talk about Jesus eight hours a day to our co-workers. It does not mean that every day we will try to "convert" our spouse by nagging (1 Peter 3:1). It doesn't mean that we're going to make life impossible for those who live in our home

because they are not Christians—or because they are not the kind of Christian we want them to be.

This beatitude also does not say, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because they are fanatics." Fanaticism can lead us to persecution, but fanaticism is never recommended in the Bible. Jesus Himself rose up in open opposition to the fanatical religion of the scribes and Pharisees. This beatitude is not talking about you if you are persecuted for being a fanatic.

Jesus also did not say, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for a noble cause." It is one thing to be persecuted for a noble cause and another to be persecuted for the sake of justice. There are many noble causes today: to support the preservation of national parks; to promote the protection of the panda; to raise funds for the study of the deterioration of the ozone layer in the atmosphere. But that's not enough. If you are persecuted for a noble cause, other than divine justice, this beatitude is not referring to your situation. Some of us run the risk of developing a martyr's spirit. We would love for people to consider us to be martyrs! If that's your spirit, you're on the wrong side of Jesus’ message.

And Jesus also did not say, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because they are good, noble, and have sacrificed.” All these characteristics, while laudable, are not enough. We are not blessed because we suffer for our goodness or nobility. It is more difficult for someone to be persecuted for these causes.

The persecution Jesus is referring to has to do with our relationship with Him. Blessed are they who are persecuted because they are like Jesus—not because they are weird, not because they are fanatical, not because they guide a noble cause, not because of their goodness and nobility. Jesus said:

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, before I chose you from the world, that is why the world hates you. Remember the word I have said to

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you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:18-20, my paraphrase).

The persecution that counts for the kingdom of heaven has to do with the kingdom of heaven itself. You can also be persecuted for matters of this world. Of course. But just as you can be persecuted by the world, you can be exalted by the world. When the world persecutes you for the sake of justice, only God rewards you, never the world.

Do we know what it is to be persecuted for righteousness’ sake? To become like Him we have to become light; light always exposes darkness, and the darkness therefore always hates the light. We are not be offensive; we are not to be foolish; we are not to be unwise; we are not even to parade the Christian faith. We must not do anything that calls for persecution. But by just being like Christ persecution becomes inevitable.1

This beatitude tells us, secondly, that to be a Christian means not to have the same attitude as the world. Our Lord placed Himself always in opposition to persecution, insults, and false accusations. The persecution that Christians are subject to has to do with the kingdom of heaven in these three areas.

As disciples of Jesus, we will suffer persecution, insults, and false accusations. Not that we are going to suffer this constantly. No. This beatitude does not speak to us of constant persecution. What it tells us is that every time we suffer for the sake of justice,

for the sake of our faith, we should not be surprised or upset with God. Jesus and His apostles were not constantly persecuted, ridiculed, and slandered. They enjoyed times of peace and popularity. Our responsibility is not to seek persecution but to be willing to endure it when it comes because of our faith in Christ.

Furthermore, just as we do not wish to be persecuted, neither are we to persecute. Sadly, this has not always been the case. An Adventist writer comments:

It should be pointed out again that this record [of religious persecution] gives no one leave to point a finger at any contemporary group or individual. The historical account is an indictment of sinful human nature. Protestants as well as Catholics have persecuted. The records of the beginnings of the Reformation in Switzerland, Germany, England, and elsewhere are not without abundant evidence that Protestant “flesh” has been as cruel as Catholic when circumstances permitted. The early founding of Protestant America also includes numerous illustrations of this same fact. Wherever there is hatred rather than love, the spirit of the antichrist reigns, whatever the religious profession may be.2

In the parable of the tares recorded in Matthew 13, the servants ask the owner of the field about the tares, "Do you want us to go and pull them out?" But

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Blessed are they who are persecuted because they are like Jesus—not because they are weird, not because they are fanatical, not because they guide a noble cause, not because of their goodness and nobility.

he says to them, “No, lest when you pluck the tares, you also pluck the wheat with it” (Matthew 13:28-29, my paraphrase). The mission of Christians is not to persecute heretics. Judging is in God's hands.

As His children, we have not been instituted as defenders of the faith. I don't feel comfortable when someone invites me to have a “friendly discussion” with a Jehovah's Witness or a Mormon or a Catholic. The truth is, I don't like it. No one wins. Our role is not to go and “prove” others wrong. Our role is not to ridicule others for their beliefs. Our role is to act like Jesus. In the same way that we do not like to be persecuted, we are not to rebuke others for their religion. This can take many forms. You can make fun of others for their beliefs. You can refuse to participate in their worship service. You can force them to attend your meetings because you have the truth. You can do it. But that was not the spirit of Christ. Christ did not insult anyone. He didn't make fun of anyone for their religious beliefs, though He could have. He never ridiculed the scribes and Pharisees. He never mocked the rich young ruler for his lack of understanding. He always acted with love. This is how you and I must act.

Finally, this beatitude tells us that following Jesus means having the best company—that of the prophets. We find in Scripture, for example, Elijah, who was persecuted by Ahab and Jezebel (1 Kings 18:7-10; 19:2), and Jeremiah, who was persecuted by his people (Jeremiah 15:20; 17:18; 18:18; 20:2; etc.). It is with such individuals that the Lord equates us when we are persecuted.

The Greek word translated as righteousness in this last beatitude is δικαιοσύνη (dikaiosune), which has a similar meaning to the Hebrew word for justice, מִשְׁפָּט (mishpat) and צְדָקָה (tsedaqah), which may be translated both as righteousness and justice Amos 5:24 reflects the use of the words: “But let justice [mishpat] roll on like a river, righteousness [tsedaqah] like a never-failing stream!” (NIV). The sense is that of both being and doing what is right and making right what is wrong. Time and time again the message of the prophets in the Old Testament

is to bring about justice not only to God’s people but to all people. (See Isaiah 1:17, Zechariah 7:910, Micah 6:8, Habakkuk 1:3-4). The prophets, in fact, were reflecting what already appeared in the Pentateuch. (See Exodus 23:6, Leviticus 19:15, Deuteronomy 16:20, 27:19). The God of justice and righteousness was appealing to His people to be righteous and to dispense justice.

I like the way Lutheran pastor David Lowry puts it:

We are blessed when we are persecuted for justice’s sake. It is, of course, possible to be “persecuted” for unrighteousness’ sake.… Our blessing is in being ostracized for doing justice, for working to make right what is wrong. Furthermore, Jesus makes it clear that when we suffer for justice’s sake, we are being reviled on his account. Jesus, like his Father in heaven, is committed to addressing wrong in order to bring about what is right. When we follow him, we find ourselves experiencing what he experienced.3

It is not certain that God’s plans for you include martyrdom. It is not certain that God's plans for you are to perish in a cold, wet, smelly dungeon. It is not certain that the Lord has in His plans for you to be burned alive. Satan has refined his methods. I’m sure they are up to date. Instead of persecution and suffering, those methods may involve giving you complacency and comfort. It is in complacency and comfort that we have lost more than one battle. It is in complacency and comfort that you and I could lose the kingdom of heaven.

Alberto Valenzuela is the associate director for communication and community engagement at the Pacific Union Conference. 1. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount 2. Desmond Ford, Daniel (Nashville, TN: Southern Publishing Association, 1978) p. 153.
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3. David Lowry, Following Jesus in an Age of Hypocrisy (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2020), p. 42.

William G. Johnsson: It’s Only About Jesus A RETROSPECTIVE

Born in Adelaide, South Australia, in 1934, William (Bill) G. Johnsson’s life trajectory was determined by his decision in his teens.

He writes:

“As a teenager, I turned my life over to Him [Jesus] and made His life and teachings the lodestar of my life.… What a ride I’ve had with Jesus as my Savior and Lord! So many adventures, so many miraculous interventions.”1

That factor shaped Bill’s life and remained his constant emphasis right up to the end, as his last video recording, shown at his memorial service, makes clear. Ever a good servant of the church, he pointed beyond organization and doctrine, saying, “It’s not about the church, dear friends, it’s about Jesus. It’s not about doctrine. Now church is important, doctrine is important, but it’s not about

doctrine in the bottom line. When we stand before God, it’s only about Jesus.”

The youngest of nine children, Bill’s childhood as he tells it was a happy one. His father, Joel Johnsson, was from Sweden (hence the double “ss” in the surname) and had met Bill’s mother, Edith Painter, in Adelaide on one of his port calls as a seaman. Joel had then gone back to Sweden, completed his ship contract, and returned to marry Edith.

Growing up in a Christian home (his father was an Adventist and his mother an Anglican), Bill was encouraged to read the Bible daily. Bill recounts:

“As a teenager I read through the Bible and fell in love with Jesus Christ. Several years later, as a student at Avondale College in Australia, I fell in love with His life and teachings.”2

It was at Avondale that he met the love of his life, Noelene Taylor. Her parents suggested that they wait until a couple of years after graduation before marrying, but these plans were changed by an unexpected call to mission service in India.

Neither Bill nor Noelene had offered to become

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missionaries, but there it was—a call to serve in India, first at Vincent Hill school and then at Spicer Memorial College. Bill recounts the experience:

“We received the call on September 1, the first day of spring Down Under. The same day we announced our engagement.”3 They married in Melbourne, and 16 days later they were on a ship sailing to India.

After mission service in India, Bill was called to teach at the Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University as professor of New Testament exegesis and theology (1975-1980) and as associate seminary dean (1978–1980). During this time, he was elected as the first president of the Adventist Society for Religious Studies (1979).

Bill had also continued his studies. Before his theology degree at Avondale, he had completed a B.Tech. in chemical technology from Adelaide University (1954). After Avondale he gained an M.A. in systematic theology from Andrews University (1966) and also a B.D. from University of London (1969). Then he completed an M.A. and a Ph.D. (1973) in biblical studies at Vanderbilt University. His Ph.D. thesis was Defilement and Purgation in the Book of Hebrews.

But his major life assignment came when he was invited to join the staff of the Adventist Review in 1980, first as associate editor, then as editor (19822006). He also became the founding editor of the new magazine Adventist World.

Bill’s first editorial as editor of the Review was fittingly a tribute to the outgoing editor. Then he introduced himself and his editorial perspective:

“My philosophy is essentially a simple one and

can be summarized as follows: I love the Lord and I love His people.… The ADVENTIST REVIEW in every issue intends to uplift Jesus Christ. It intends to point the reader to our Life, our Light, our Hope, our Joy, our Salvation. It holds that by keeping our eyes fixed on Him we will find strength for every day's tasks and faith and peace amid the shadows of these last days.”4

Here we see the measure of the man. As always, he brings the primary focus back to Jesus. He comments that church members have the right to have church news “quickly, fairly, openly, fully, and responsibly.” He also sees that “because the paper is part of the church, it must ever remain sensitive to its pastoral role.”5 In this role Bill was quintessentially an editor who functioned as a pastor in terms of his care for the wider church.

At his memorial service held in Redlands, California, many friends, family, and colleagues gathered to pay tribute to Bill and share their memories. Here is just a selection of quotes:

“Today we have been invited to celebrate this godly man, this joyful man, this learned man, this man who was a passionate devotee of Jesus— whom he faithfully proclaimed to the world in his preaching, his teaching, and his writings.” Justin Singh, former Spicer colleague, longtime friend.

Giving the life sketch, Steve Chavez, former Adventist Review colleague and friend, noted, “As editor Bill knew that the readers looked to the Review not only for inspiration but also for guidance on how to address the major issues of the day.” He gave the examples of racism and social injustice before highlighting Bill’s involvement in the Role

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of Women Commission, as well as participation in many interfaith dialogues. He also pointed to Bill’s sense of humor, particularly in retreats, as well as musical “duets” with Roy Adams, commenting that the term “musical” was being charitable!

“During the years that we worked together at the world headquarters of our church, I came to know Bill not just as an accomplished professional colleague but as a much-loved friend.” Jan Paulsen, former General Conference president.

“There was a competent calmness about him, a dignity.… And he carried that demeanor outside the borders of the Adventist church. I remember accompanying him and the late Dr. Bert Beach on one of their interfaith conversations.… I was so impressed by his calm ability to interface in a scholarly manner with these non-Adventist friends.” Roy Adams, former Adventist Review colleague, friend.

“He joined us frequently for Sunday’s games. The desire of this distinguished scholar to play cricket with us…spoke volumes about his willingness to break through colonial barriers of race, hierarchy, and traditions…. It’s hard to say goodbye to a scholar, mentor, and friend who was such an incredible human being.” John Thomas, School of Business dean at La Sierra University, Spicer student when Bill was a faculty member.

“I think perhaps one of the great contributions that Bill made to the Adventist church was helping us all understand that the non-Christian religions are the places where the Spirit of God is at work.” Jon Paulien, director, William Johnsson Center for Understanding World Religions, former LLU colleague, friend.

“He will remain as long as time remains, as a giant with a prophetic voice and influence in the work of God’s people.” Calvin Rock, former GC vice president, colleague, friend.

“Bill Johnsson was blessed with a keen intellect, a humble spirit, and a gift for communication. And he coupled that with a curiosity and an acceptance of others that seemed to never end.” Richard H. Hart, president, Loma Linda University Health, colleague, friend.

“I have been a longtime admirer of Bill Johnson. I admired him for his wide view of everything, his warm heart, and his courage. He dared to speak out when other people quite hid themselves.” Herbert Thorson Blomstedt, conductor laureate, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, friend.

“Throughout his career, Bill was more than a scholar, more than a writer, he was a shepherd. And in his role as Adventist Review editor, he became a global shepherd, the first pastor of the church. It was a responsibility that went well beyond the pages of the magazine that he edited.” Ray Tetz, director of communication and community involvement at Pacific Union Conference, colleague, friend.

Robert W. Nixon, former GC legal counsel, colleague, and longtime friend, recounted his experience with Bill in cutting down an offending maple tree. It brought down the house.

“I valued the quality of our conversations. Even at Avondale, Bill was widely read, thought deeply, and was open to considering new concepts.” Barry Taylor, research microbiologist, brother-in-law, longtime friend.

In a tribute emphasizing five simple daily gifts shared by Bill, granddaughter Jacqueline Johnsson spoke of simple daily presence, patience, laughter, beauty, and love. And, she shared, “There’s always room for dessert. Always. A lesson I definitely learned from granddad, a man with a big sweet tooth and even bigger heart.”

“Bill was a loving and hands-on grandfather. He played with them. He went on walks with them. He collected shells. He taught them minigolf.… For me Fenwick Island will always be connected with Bill and the happy memories we had.” Renee Johnsson, daughter-in-law.

“When we found out my grandfather was passing, we scheduled a family call.… [My mother] told Bill that he’ll always be with us because he’s left us with a treasure chest of books and stories. Next time we’re alone or gathered together we can open up his book and read out loud a memory.” Madeleine Johnsson, granddaughter.

“I’m here to talk about the life and teachings of

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an authentic Adventist…. He of course wrote a book called Authentic Adventism because he understood what it was… Bill was a noble man, who believed in principles, who loved Jesus, and who was willing to tell the truth.” Timothy Gillespie, lead pastor, Crosswalk Network of Churches, friend.

It is impossible to sum up the thousands of editorials and articles he wrote, along with more than 40 books. But while his pen ranged over many different issues, he never forgot what he called “the main thing.” He asked, “What do Adventists think is the main thing?” Some, he suggested, say “the Sabbath.” Others “the Second Coming.” But Bill declared, “The main thing, the matter of first importance, comes to just five little words, ‘Christ died for our sins.’”7

Other quotes show Bill’s primary emphases, reflecting what was most important for him, and, he believed, for the Adventist church:

“No Adventist sermon must leave any hearer in doubt that Christ is the center of our hope, our faith, our life.”8

“The primacy of Scripture—we must leave no one in doubt that this is the Adventist position.”9

“Grace means that God offers each of us salvation as a free gift in Jesus Christ.”10

This was the perspective Bill brought to the many interfaith conversations he was part of, especially in the seven years after retirement when he was appointed assistant to the G.C. president for interfaith relations. In these interfaith dialogues, he met with representatives from Christian denominations as well as representatives of Islam and other religions.

In his most recent books, Bill continued to express his pastoral concern for his church. He commented, “The high-water mark of the Scriptures doesn’t come at the beginning, but near the close. Not ‘in the beginning God created heaven and earth’ but ‘God is love.’”11

Using instances from his long career, he appealed for “Authentic Adventism,” defining what he saw as the true identity of the church.12

In the end, with Bill, it’s all about Jesus. He summed up the results of his long experience teaching

classes in “Life and Teachings of Jesus,” together with his own personal perspective, in his book, Jesus of Nazareth: His Life, His Message, His Passions: “The study of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth is the most important and rewarding of all studies. He is incomparable. His life is amazing. His teachings are wonderful in simplicity and depth. Anyone who seeks to be educated should not bypass Jesus. He changed, and still changes, the world.”13

He closes his tribute to “the incomparable Jesus” with these words:

“The question that faces each of us as we come to the end of this book, not of the story, is this: Am I part of that story? Jesus invites each of us to make His story our story.… He sends us to be His hands, His feet, His voice of hope, and His healing touch.”14

1. William G. Johnsson, Living in Love: Snapshots of a Happy Life (Westlake Village, CA: Oak and Acorn Publishing, 2022), p. 34.

2. William G. Johnsson, Jesus of Nazareth: His Life, His Message, His Passions (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 2018), p. ix.

3. Living in Love p. 41.

4. William G. Johnsson, “The Review in your Future,” Adventist Review (Dec. 9, 1982), p. 3.

5. “The Review in your Future,” p. 10.

6. William G. Johnsson, Where Are We Headed? Adventism After San Antonio (Westlake Village, CA: Oak and Acorn Publishing, 2017), p. 57.

7. Where Are We Headed? p. 59.

8. William G. Johnsson, “Jesus is Magnificent,” Adventist Review (April 7, 1983), p. 18.

9. William G. Johnsson, “Reflections on Zion,” Adventist Review (June 23, 1983), p. 11.

10. William G. Johnsson, “Grace Abounding,” Adventist Review (Dec. 29, 1983), p. 12.

11. Living in Love p. xii.

12. William G. Johnsson, Authentic Adventism (Westlake Village, CA: Oak and Acorn Publishing, 2018).

13. Jesus of Nazareth, pp. xvi-xvii.

14. Jesus of Nazareth, pp. 330-331.

24 Pacific Union Recorder I Newsdesk NEWSDESK

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Arizona Ordinations Meet Needs Unconventionally

The typical path to ordination” would not describe the process for Pastor Ranison Kennedy and Pastor Alvin Schnell. While their backgrounds and life experience are dramatically different, both have a passion for ministry that has eclipsed their retirement years. When asked about these two individuals, Arizona Conference Ministerial Director Van Bledsoe comments, “It is inspiring to see these two men, who both spent an entire life in their respective careers, now dedicate themselves to full-time ministry.”

Elder Ranison Kennedy grew up in a Christian home that instilled in him the importance of prayer and a love for and trust in God. After playing college basketball for a couple of years, he was called into the U.S. Army and served three years, including a tour in Vietnam. Shortly after his return from Vietnam, he began work as an electrical lineman and encountered a Seventh-day Adventist foreman who introduced him to the church. After years of studying and contemplating the Word of God, he and his wife, Rosie Marie, were baptized in 1976. Two years later they relocated to Tucson, Arizona, and became active members in the Tucson Sharon church.

After he retired from his career, Ranison and Rosie Marie focused on prison ministry nearly full time. For 30 years they had focused their ministry on the

individuals who were located inside the correctional facility walls; then God called them to pivot to focus on those who were facing re-entry into society outside the walls. He, along with other like-minded Christians, established a Christ-centered re-entry home, The Omega House Ministry.

In 2006, the Arizona Conference commissioned Ranison as a lay pastor for the Tucson Maranatha Group, which later gained status as a church. “Omega House Re-entry Ministry is an integral part and ministry of the church,” he said. “Church members serve as mentors to the enrolled men and their families.”

In 2017, Pastor Kennedy completed his coursework in the Clinical Pastoral Education Program and received his chaplain certification. Having served his community and church for many years, the Arizona Conference recognized that it was long overdue to officially ordain Pastor Ranison Kennedy. Conducting the ordination service in his home church allowed church members to celebrate and show their strong support for the pastor and his wife, who have been a major part of their lives.

“Brother Kennedy has always had a great passion for serving those who are marginalized by society,” said Arizona Conference President Ed Keyes. “It has been a privilege to work with Pastor Kennedy for almost 20 years now in Arizona.”

An hour and half drive to the southeast of Tucson is the Sierra

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Vista church, which serves an area comprised of retirement communities and a U.S. Army base. Alvin Schnell moved to the area in 2018 with the intent to retire with his wife, Coral. After practicing dentistry for over 50 years, one would expect him to sit back and enjoy the so-called “golden years.” However, the couple became so active in the ministry of the church in Sierra Vista, the Arizona Conference invited him to take on the role of official pastor for the Sierra Vista and Bisbee churches in 2020.

Growing up in a Seventh-day Adventist home, Pastor Schnell is a product of Adventist education—graduating from Gem State Academy in Idaho, attending Walla Walla College, and then obtaining his D.D.S. degree in 1963 from the College of Medical Evangelists, later known as Loma Linda University. Returning to Caldwell, Idaho, in 1970, he practiced dentistry for another 48 years. Active in ministry through the years, he established an outreach from the Caldwell congregation, which eventually transitioned into full church status.

Now in “retirement,” he has teamed with Coral, who is a trained Bible worker, and led a revival in the Sierra Vista and Bisbee churches. With over 60 active Bible studies being conducted by members of the two churches, Pastor Schnell has led with a passion

and energy that belies his chronological age. This was evident during the ordination service as the atmosphere was vibrant and incredibly supportive. A few times members called out, “That is our pastor!” as the service proceeded. One of the members of the church commented on the vibrancy of the church, “We don’t want people to retire here to die. We want them to retire here to live.”

Reflecting on Pastor Schnell’s ministry, President Keyes said, “He is always looking for people who are interested and seeking truth. What is amazing about Alvin is he’s been serving the Lord his entire life, but only recently has he been serving as a pastor.”

“It has been an absolutely wonderful thing to be associated with these two active congregations,” Pastor Schnell said.

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Promise FM Celebrates 34 Years of Impact Through Radio

Promise 89.7 KARM celebrated 34 years of broadcasting in April. Over the years, this station—which reaches over one million people in the Central Valley—has impacted not only those who tune in but also people behind the scenes making it happen every day. The goal is to lead listeners to Jesus and inspire them to have a deeper relationship with Him.

Richard Dunn, who has been with the station for over 30 years, is one person who has witnessed the power of Christian radio. “We've had people who have prayed for miracles,” said Dunn. And many of these miracles have happened, leaving a lasting impact on the listener.

One person, who has been tuning in since 1990, had a daughter with cancer. “His daughter came down with a form of leukemia, and he called the station to pray for her. The staff prayed for her, and she's been in remission ever since. He gives God the glory for that,” Dunn recalled.

The majority of the content broadcasted is praise and contemporary music, with spoken word mixed in. The broadcast includes a variety of programs for all types of Christians. There is also a powerful Gospel

Hour, interviews, and stories that move listeners and keep them entertained.

The signal reaches four counties, including Fresno, Tulare, Kings, and Madera. And it is supported by a broad spectrum of communities of faith and churches who come together on numerous occasions to support the broadcast.

When Dr. Ray Wallen came up with the idea for this radio ministry in the late 1980s, it involved trusting God to guide in creating the station. There was only one FM frequency available for Christian radio in the area, but they applied to the FCC and were given the ability to start.

A studio had to be built as well and was completed in a few months. The broadcasting began soon after, and the team started promoting the station and gaining support. This has grown the station and turned it into powerful outreach.

Become involved with Promise FM by visiting or scanning this QR code.

28 Pacific Union Recorder Central California Conference

Young Adult Ministry and the Blessings Brought by Challenges

Young adult ministry has always been a challenging area for churches to navigate, and the coronavirus pandemic only intensified these struggles. However, amidst the difficulties, the Central California Conference (CCC) experienced unexpected growth and blessings in their ministry. Anil Kanda, young adult ministry director for the CCC, had witnessed explosive growth on the West Coast before the pandemic forced the ministry to shift online.

The CCC adapted by launching multiple young adult Zoom meetings per week, focusing on various activities like vespers, Sabbath School, Bible studies, and prayer meetings. This online engagement led to a significant young adult community developing across the Pacific Union and the North American Division. As a result, young adults who were previously feeling disconnected from the church now had a sense of belonging and even began to take leadership roles.

The ministry emphasized the importance of community over physical buildings, nurturing an environment where young adults could engage in open discussions about God's Word. Kanda identified biblical community and open discussions as key elements for an effective young adult ministry. Fostering a love for God's character and the church as a biblical community focused on outreach proved essential for young adults.

As in-person events restarted, the ministry prioritized small groups to study God's Word together. In May 2022,

Kanda's dream of bringing the Light Bearers ministry to the West Coast became a reality, with over 300 people attending the event, the majority being young adults. This success story demonstrated that, although the pandemic brought challenges, it also prompted reassessments and improvements in the ministry.

Ultimately, the CCC's young adult ministry found blessings amidst the challenges posed by the coronavirus, experiencing growth and fostering a sense of community among young adults. Emphasizing the importance of biblical community, open discussions, and a focus on outreach, the ministry discovered innovative ways to engage and connect with young adults during these trying times.

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Reflections of a Mountaintop Spiritual Experience: CCC Women’s Retreat

The Central California Women's Retreat offers a sacred haven for spiritual transformation. Set near Yosemite's tranquil Tenaya Lodge, this retreat invites women to immerse themselves in prayer, meditation, and divine wisdom.

In our fast-paced world, prioritizing spiritual wellbeing can be challenging. This serene mountain retreat provides the perfect environment for women to rest, commune, sing, praise, worship, and reconnect with God and fellow believers.

The 2023 retreat, themed "Abide Forever," began with nearly 400 women singing "Waymaker" as a reminder of God's omnipresence and love.

Speakers Deeann Bragaw, director of women’s ministries for the North American Division, and Sandi Colón, senior pastor for Modesto Central church, guided attendees on a journey of spiritual nourishment throughout the weekend, emphasizing the importance of abiding with God and embracing His divine plan for each of their lives. Sabbath activities included an anointing service, during which women

presented their needs before the Lord and placed their trust in His healing power.

The impact of this retreat was evident through many of the experiences women shared on the last day. One commented, “I felt I wasn’t worthy of God’s amazing love; I felt guilty and ashamed of how my life has turned out. But this weekend, I felt God’s glorious grace here with me.” Another shared, “The messages our speakers presented moved me to change and spend more time with Jesus—not just Bible study, but prayerful reflection on the texts I read.” Yet another shared, “I am so glad that I was here this weekend to be reminded that I am loved and Christ wants to abide with me.”

Over the years, God's presence has manifested healing, miracles, and profound personal growth at these retreats. This mountaintop sanctuary stands as a testament to the power of spiritual transformation and the unwavering love of our Creator.

30 Pacific Union Recorder Central California Conference

Faith-Based Excellence: Adventist Health Sonora Earns Top 100 Rural Hospital Recognition

Adventist Health Sonora (AHS) has been recognized as one of the Top 100 rural hospitals of the year, showcasing its commitment to providing high-quality care rooted in Christian values. This prestigious recognition comes from the 2023 Top 100 Rural & Community Hospital list presented by the Chartis Center for Rural Health.

The annual award is determined by the Chartis Center's INDEX, which evaluates eight performance measures, such as quality and patient perspectives. This comprehensive and objective assessment of rural hospital performance is the gold standard in the industry, highlighting the achievements of U.S. hospitals that excel in providing superior care and enhancing patient satisfaction.

Michelle Fuentes, president of AHS, emphasizes the hospital's dedication to offering the best care for their community. She stated, "Our patients are our family members, friends, and neighbors," reflecting the institution's spiritual foundation and commitment to treating everyone with compassion and respect. Fuentes is proud of the hospital's exceptional team for earning this recognition.

AHS's acknowledgment as a top rural hospital reaffirms its position as a leading faith-based health ministry in the region, upholding its mission to care for the whole person—mind, body, and spirit. This recognition serves as a testament to the power of combining quality healthcare with a strong spiritual foundation, resulting in a hospital that provides exceptional care for its community.

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Oahu Ohana Joyfully Gather for Convocation

On February 25, 2023, the larger church family gathered from across Oahu for Convocation, hosted at Honolulu Central church. This event marked the resumption of Convocation, as it had been on pause due to covid for the past three years. The joy of meeting together was felt by all who attended, and “the house was packed out,” with every pew filled to the edges on Sabbath. Preparations were prayerfully and intentionally planned months in advance. Church and conference leadership plunged into the opportunity to consider all components of Convocation. It became clear that all were in support of an inter-generational worship experience, with youth and kūpuna (older persons) together. Some new ideas emerged and were successfully implemented.

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The worship team incorporated both old and new songs and hymns so that there would be something that would appeal to every age. Special musical numbers were shared throughout the services. Teachers and schools across the island were introduced and featured in short videos. Ministries were given the chance to spotlight their work, share their testimonies, and let God’s miracles shine. Initiatives in health ministry, homeless ministry, and community support inspired many to see that God has been faithful to pour out His calling on His children through every circumstance and season.

Outside of the main sanctuary, many elements came into play. The keiki (children) were engaged with songs, stories, and hands-on activities. Potluck structure was re-allocated back to local congregations, bringing a more intimate feel to gatherings spread across the campus. Following the last meeting, interactive workshops were held to train elders, church treasurers, Sabbath School teachers, deacons, and greeters. Many members stayed by and became empowered and better equipped to serve in their unique arena of ministry.

Elder Dwain Esmond, who is an associate director and editor for the E.G. White Estate, was the speaker, and he was joined by his lovely wife and son. He brought clarity and passion to a thorough review of the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14. He didn’t hold back when it came to reminding us that “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come” (Revelation 14:7, NKJV) is really a call to closeness and togetherness with our Savior. He also emphasized how the call to come out of Babylon is a

timely message of love to every person who lives on this earth. Elder Esmond culminated his message by sharing an amazing testimony of how he was able to witness to an unbeliever, and he followed that up with a moving appeal to start fresh again. Virtually the entire congregation came forward in response.

God is to be praised as young and old came away from Convocation equipped, inspired, and refreshed!

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The joy of meeting together was felt by all who attended, and “the house was packed out,” with every pew filled to the edges on Sabbath.

HIS Nation to the End of Time

Ihope you enjoy reading the stories originating from our little school in the Arizona desert. For over 75 years, Holbrook Indian School (HIS) has been a place where miracles happen. God’s people are a big part of His miracles—empty vessels being used to touch the hearts of their Native brothers and sisters. Whether it’s the generous friends of HIS or the dedicated faculty and staff, God continues to bring the right people to support His children.

Holbrook Indian School is located at a crossroads. Just within the last three years, people from various parts of the Adventist community throughout the country have visited the campus. The prayer coordinator for ASAP Ministries, Gem Castor, provided a memorable week of prayer. The associate director of Health Ministries for the

General Conference, Zeno L. Charles-Marcel, blessed us with his wisdom during our health emphasis weekend. Similarly, mission groups and organizations—too many to list here—have contributed time, talent, and treasure to bolstering our programs and campus beautification.

As the school’s storyteller, I have had the privilege of witnessing God’s hand working in and through the lives of a number of students attending Holbrook Indian School. It is one thing to write about the impact that HIS has on our students; it has been really something special to see it up close.

What makes the time special here at HIS is our students. They are the reason we do what we do, and as I have had the opportunity to spend time with them, and spend time witnessing our staff pour into them, it

34 Pacific Union Recorder Holbrook Indian School
Union Recorder
A Seventh-day Adventist Boarding Academy Serving Native American Youth Since 1946
Thanks to the dedicated community surrounding HIS students, our youth have grown mentally and spiritually.
RIGHT: Students, who were once reserved, now courageously stand in front to lead praise and worship services.

reminds me of the value of the work we do here. Seeing the effect of what we do and the impact it makes is heartwarming.

I have seen students who had been oblivious to a healthy lifestyle due to their background consciously make healthy decisions. That is the physical element of our program. I have seen students who were once reserved and closed voluntarily stand in front to lead praise and worship services. That is the mental and spiritual element. I have seen a genuine interest develop in learning and exploring artistic avenues. That is the academic/artistic element. I have seen students enjoying themselves and laughing and smiling, and it makes me step back and appreciate all that we do here for our students and just appreciate them.

As my wife and I savor our last few moments here at HIS, and as I pass on the storytelling torch to my successor, I am confident that these stories will continue because of God’s faithfulness in providing breakthrough experiences and the people who help make them happen. This is His Nation, now and until the end of time.

Holbrook Indian School (HIS) is a first- through twelfthgrade boarding academy operated by the Pacific Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. HIS also manages a first- through eighth-grade day school on the Navajo reservation in Chinle, Arizona. Eighty-seven percent of funding comes from individuals who have a desire to support Native American ministries and Christian education. Your generosity makes a difference in the lives of our students, their families, and the communities they serve. Thank you for your support.


P.O. Box 910 • Holbrook, Arizona 86025-0910 (928) 524-6845 (Ext. 109) •

Holbrook Indian School May 2023 35
A mission volunteer from F5 Challenge builds a birdhouse with students.

Ayala to Lead CA Academy of Family Physicians

Adventist Health physician Raul Ayala has been installed as the new president of the California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP).

Ayala, MD, MHCM, is the ambulatory medical officer for Adventist Health and the first CAFP president from the California Central Valley area, which includes Fresno, Kings, Madera, and Tulare counties. Ayala is a recognized leader in health equity and ensuring that patients receive the medical care and support they need to live well.

“Dr. Ayala has spent the last 10 years caring for rural patients in the Central Valley and collaborating with community partners to tackle health disparities,” said Arby Nahapetian, MD, chief clinical officer for Adventist

Health. “He has already been transforming healthcare in this state by implementing screenings and care plans into every clinic visit, including those that impact a patient’s overall well-being, such as food insecurity, mental health, opioids, substance use disorders, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.”

As part of his personal and professional mission to tackle health disparities, Ayala has launched an innovative project with a local nonprofit organization to establish virtual care visits for people living in homeless camps. In addition to his clinical leadership, Ayala helps lead the graduate medical education residency programs at Adventist Health.

Adventist Health Named Among Fortune’s ‘Most Innovative Companies’

Adventist Health, based in Roseville, California, was ranked No. 19 out of 58 hospitals and health systems named to Fortune magazine’s 2023 list of 300 Most Innovative Companies in America. The Fortune list recognizes companies the magazine notes are “transforming industries from the inside out.”

Criteria evaluated in choosing companies include innovation in product, process, and culture, as well as inspiring leaders who foster brainstorming and collaboration. Surveys conducted in 2022 with employees and experts were used to compile the list.

Explore the complete list at

36 Pacific Union Recorder Adventist Health

First La Sierra AVID Day Brings 200 High Schoolers to College

They learned about geckos, local plant species, and art and design opportunities, and they participated in a scavenger hunt—high school students enjoyed a plethora of activities during a recent visit to La Sierra University as part of a program designed to prepare them for college.

More than 200 students from five high schools arrived on March 8 for La Sierra’s first AVID Day, which provided an inside look at college life and potential career paths.

“The biology session was my favorite because they thoroughly went through the summer programs and that topic…interested me the most,” noted one student in reflections submitted afterward.

Said another, “My favorite session was the fair part of it as it allowed us to get more information about many different things around campus.”

AVID, or Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a national program implemented at K-12 schools that aims to bridge the gap for students who desire higher education but who lack the necessary skills and support to get there.

In 2015, La Sierra University through its Title V grant program began a partnership with AVID for Higher Education, which offers instruction to educators on ways of improving instructional practices and co-curricular systems toward engaging diverse student populations. La Sierra’s AVID program provides resources for the university’s AVID Club, for AVID class campus tours, and for support of the development of local K-12 AVID programs.

“Being a math teacher, I loved how they’re including everything about STEM and having our students think about sustainability and the impact it has on our environment and our

world,” said Adriana Camacho in a video interview series conducted during AVID Day. She is a math and AVID teacher at La Sierra High School.

AVID Day participant Nate Sutter, geneticist and chair of La Sierra University’s biology department, noted, “Genomics is a place where data is huge, data’s exciting, and we’re just getting started with what we can do in biology with big data. I’m here to help any student who’s interested in doing this,” he said.

Two high school students said in an AVID Day video that they joined the AVID program to learn more about colleges and to develop a plan prior to enrolling in higher education. Said one, “I feel like college…can open up more opportunities, more jobs. I feel like it could change me and make a better ‘me’ before I go into the world.”

La Sierra University May 2023 37
To read more, go to
La Sierra University students and campus tour leaders Anett Pajuelo, left, and Paulina Tapia pose during the AVID Day fair. PHOTO: JARED GONZALEZ

Loma Linda University School of Medicine Partners with AdventHealth Orlando for New Regional Campus

Loma Linda University School of Medicine students now have the opportunity to spend their clinical years at AdventHealth Orlando, thanks to a new regional campus partnership. Through the agreement, medical students can select the Florida-based healthcare system for their required clinical rotations during their third and fourth years of education leading to a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree.

The Loma Linda University School of Medicine –AdventHealth Orlando Campus offers medical students the opportunity to train in Central Florida to diversify their clinical education across a variety of patient care settings and environments.

“A cohort of students are learning in a setting that shares similar visions and common values with an emphasis on whole-person care just like Loma Linda University Health,” said Tamara Thomas, MD, dean of Loma Linda University School of Medicine.

Medical students training at AdventHealth Orlando will follow the core curriculum of Loma Linda University School of Medicine and will complete their medical education under the supervision of the AdventHealth Orlando faculty.

“We have a long-standing relationship with AdventHealth, and the Orlando location is an additional rotational site for students to spend their clinical years learning from a diverse group of providers and researchers, many of whom are alumni,” said Elaine Hart, MD, assistant dean of regional campuses at Loma Linda University School of Medicine.

Regional campuses are becoming more common as medical schools and healthcare organizations recognize the partnership benefits of training the next generation of physicians. The campuses boost enrollment and help increase the workforce in that region.

“There is strong interest and enthusiasm to learn

See the latest news and Health & Wellness stories from Loma Linda University Health at

and participate in medical care in Central Florida,” said George Everett, MD, assistant dean of Loma Linda University School of Medicine – AdventHealth Orlando Campus. “Students will learn in a large hospital system that offers advanced medical research and exceptional primary and specialty care to a diverse patient population.”

AdventHealth Orlando is a major tertiary and quaternary referral hospital for much of the Southeast, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The facility has several residency and fellowship programs already in place, with additional programs set to launch soon. Residencies in OBGYN and orthopedics will admit their first classes in July.

According to a study by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. could see an estimated shortage of primary care physicians between 17,800 and 48,000 and non-primary care specialties of between 21,000 and 77,100 physicians by 2034. Other key findings state that the U.S. population is projected to grow by 10.6%, with a projected 42.4% increase in those aged 65 and above over the next decade, which will create an increased demand for physician specialties that predominately care for older Americans.

Students applying or accepted to Loma Linda University School of Medicine who are interested in spending their third and fourth year at a regional campus such as AdventHealth Orlando may indicate their preference in their secondary application.

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Meet Nate Furness: New Lead Pastor of the Pacific Union College Church

Nate Furness is the new lead pastor for the Pacific Union College church. Born in Seattle, Wash., and raised in Orange County, Calif., Pastor Nate began his pastoral ministry at Westminster Good Samaritan church, then became the lead pastor at the Costa Mesa church, and then was offered the same position at Napa Community church. Having a passion for Adventist education made him decide to accept this position at PUC, and the college could not be more excited to see Pastor Nate lead the students and church.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

I wanted to be a pastor or a fireman. I am a pastor’s kid, and as I was growing up, I watched my father. I knew I wanted to be like him. In college, I didn’t choose a religion degree. I knew what it meant to be a pastor, and I wasn’t ready to fulfill that obligation. I graduated with an education degree in health, wellness, and physical education.

When did you first feel the call to be a pastor?

Early on, but I didn’t think I was ready. I had some growing to do. After I married Jennie in 2005, I knew it was time to become a pastor.

What made you decide to accept this position?

I have a passion for Adventist education. I want to be part of preparing young adults to serve Jesus in their context. We want to prepare nurses, psychologists, filmmakers, teachers, pastors, and others to share the love of Jesus with everyone they encounter.

What are your spiritual goals for the campus?

To prepare young people to be missionaries in their professional context, to disciple and mentor young people, and to demonstrate that life is joyful and that we are better in community.

What methods do you use to stay connected with young people and be a mentor to them throughout their spiritual lives?

I like to connect with them in the classroom and during intramurals and invite students into our home. I

plan to be present in the student center and available to chat. For those wishing to go deeper, I would schedule meetings where we can listen and encourage.

What makes pastoring a campus church special to you?

Community. I love that there is a variety of people on campus. I look forward to working with administration and the various departments to lean into our spiritual development.

How can your new PUC family serve and support you and your family as you minister to us?

Encouragement. We all need to be encouraged, even the pastors.

What is your favorite thing about being part of the PUC family?

The people. I love that we live in a community where we run into people we know all the time. I love the campus. I love that PUC has hundreds, if not thousands, of acres to explore on bike and foot.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Cycling, snowboarding, wakeboarding, and being with my family.

Pacific Union College May 2023 39

New Changes for the Reno Center of Influence

The Reno Center of Influence has been providing support and assistance to the community of Reno for eight years, and as the needs of Reno are changing, so are the services they offer.

Starting in early 2023, the Reno chapter of Volunteers of America began renting space in the Center of Influence building. Volunteers of America helps provide housing assistance, employment services, and addiction recovery programs. All the services they offer are a great addition to those already being provided at the Center.

The Center’s food pantry appears to be growing almost daily. The Sparks church and Volunteers of America will be combining their food pantries with the already bustling one located at the Center. Currently, there are distribution operating hours four days a week, with plans to increase that soon to six days a week. Because of the increasing volume of clients, Delberth Castillo, director of the Center of Influence, is working on some much-needed improvements. Construction has already begun to create space to accommodate more shoppers in the pantry at one time. They are also working on purchasing more refrigerators and freezers in which the perishable items can be stored and displayed.

Contributions to the food pantry come from a diversity of donors. While most of the food comes from large stores like Costco, Smart and Final, Grocery Outlet, and the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, a significant amount of donations come from individuals. As people observe the great work being done by the food pantry, they are impressed and want to help in whatever way they can—even if it is just dropping off a bag of food or feminine hygiene products or diapers. Many of the volunteers at the pantry have no affiliation with the Adventist church but have been so impressed by what they have seen that they choose to donate their time every week. According to one volunteer, Berta, “It is such a blessing to be here and serve the people coming in.”

One woman saw the great impact the Center of Influence had while assisting her daughter; she wanted to help support the work there. Being the owner of a local cleaning business, she now donates her services to keep the Center of Influence a clean, safe, and welcoming place. Often people come to the food pantry even though they don’t really need the food. Castillo says, “Sometimes people will come to the food pantry just because they know it’s a Christian place. They just want some Christian interaction or even someone to pray with them.”

In John 21:17, Jesus tells Peter to “feed my sheep.” Whether He meant that in the physical sense or the spiritual sense, the volunteers at the Center of Influence food pantry are finding that providing for people’s physical hunger is opening doors to offer some spiritual food as well.

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Volunteers and clients alike are abundantly blessed by the NUC Center of Influence outreach.

FAR LEFT: Harpist Beverly

Wesner-Hoehn was joined by speaker Lisa Holman-Marsh to bless and delight the attendees of the Women’s Day celebration.

LEFT: Presenters of the message in word and music, Beverly Wesner-Hoehn and Lisa Holman-Marsh, are joined by Pahrump pastor Ryan Johnson (center), head deaconess Vickie Smith (second from left), and Gerald Marsh (far right).

The First Pahrump Church Women’s Ministries Celebration Ignites Inspiration and Fellowship

On February 3, 2023, after months of prayerful planning and coordination, the Pahrump church hosted its first weekend Women’s Day celebration. The weekend theme was titled “Take Heart Daughter: Jesus Has Something for You.”

It was the first event in a series of planned “Grow Your Church” initiatives for 2023. Creating an environment of inclusion, members of the Centennial Hills sister church attended to share in the celebration and worship.

The exciting weekend started with Friday night vespers. On Sabbath morning those in attendance were first blessed by beautiful musical selections played on the harp by world-renowned harpist Beverly Wesner-Hoehn. She was followed by dynamic guest speaker Lisa Holman-Marsh. There was virtually standing room only. Patty Hobson, Pahrump women’s ministries leader, remarked, “As the women’s ministries leader, I was impressed by the turn out! Lisa presented a very timely message, and Beverly’s musical presentation on the harp was very inspiring.”

With the core message taken from John 4, Holman-Marsh provided valuable insights into Jesus’ interactions with the women of His day—in particular, the Samaritan woman. Women participants, as well as the men in attendance, voiced their feelings of thankfulness for the blessings. Vickie Smith, head deaconess, shared, “When I first heard Lisa HolmanMarsh speak at the Christian Women’s Retreat at Leoni

Meadows, I knew the women at my church would love to hear her too. Our Women’s Day celebration, Friday night, and Sabbath morning with Lisa and Beverly Wesner-Hoehn on the harp were spiritual high points that we will never forget!” This memorable event served to underscore women’s contributions throughout the ages and reinforce our biblically based principles.

Nevada-Utah Conference May 2023 41
Lisa Holman-Marsh presented an inspiring and challenging Sabbath morning message at the first “Grow Your Church” event at the Pahrump church.

Snow and Rain Collapse Gym Roof

On March 5, Echo Ridge Christian School, our Pre-K through eighth-grade school in Nevada City, was dealt a severe blow when the gymnasium roof collapsed under heavy snow and rain.

The building, in use since the 1960s, collapsed sometime between 6:00 p.m. Saturday and 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Patti Osborne, the principal, stated, “The gym was not only used for physical education but also housed the library, music department, chapel, art, and the cooking class.”

Osborne continued, “Our gym was recently remodeled, including coverings for the gym floor. Additionally, for safety and to protect the gym, we also spent $10,000 to cut down trees. With the renovations, we rented the space to five local entities. This financial support was crucial to the school.”

Laurie Trujillo, director of communication and development, said, “The destroyed gym will significantly impact the 42 students and teaching staff of four. However, all classrooms are on a separate part of the campus and sustained no damage. The school will remain in session during cleanup and rebuilding.”

Osborne concluded, “The collapse came soon after the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services declared a local state of emergency, so rebuild permitting could happen sooner than normal.” The estimated value of the building is around $1 million.

If you are interested in helping Echo Ridge rebuild their gym, scan the QR code.

Magnificent Seven Take to the Streets

The compassion of seven Rio Lindo Adventist Academy students was revealed through their spontaneous service to unhoused residents in Santa Rosa.

Fighting boredom while away from Rio on their last home leave, seniors Jair Barrios, Joseph Chen, Kuria Hamilton, Joshua Jesus, Federio Omolon, Jonathan Palomino, and Lolesio “Junior” Vitaliano ”just decided to do something good.” Spending their own money to purchase food supplies, they made lunches with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheese puffs, and chips. According to one, ”It's what we would want to eat—and what we could afford!”

They approached various people in downtown Santa Rosa with their food gifts. Many smiled, some shook their hands and said thank you, while others ignored

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them, but every bag of food was accepted! The impact of this experience on the hearts of these seven students can be seen in the humble response of Joseph Chen, one of the seniors. When asked how it felt to buy the food, pack it up, and drive around Santa Rosa finding people to serve, he shyly responded, “I don't know—I guess I felt kind of proud.”

One teacher stated, “The students returned to school after home leave and presented Principal Lepulu with a video of their missionary adventure. The boys didn't realize how much this video would capture the hope

of every educator, parent, and pastor by showing seven young men, less than 90 days from high school graduation, spontaneously spending their free time serving others!”

Principal Lepulu later presented the video to the school board. In this meeting, he stated, “We don't always get to see the seeds planted at home, church, and school. I want others to know that these kids are being impacted to go out and make the world a better place!”

Planting a Church in Good Soil

The name of the Oakland missionary group Buena Tierra translates to “good soil” and was inspired by the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13. It is a lively and vibrant group that loves, helps, shares, celebrates, has fun, and grows.

On August 1, 2021, the Oakland Spanish church established a core group of 14 members. Each member was tasked with recruiting two additional members to form the new Buena Tierra congregation. Within two months, this core group began a search for a rentable church building in their East Oakland neighborhood, which has one of the largest Hispanic populations in the city.

After an extensive search, on Dec. 25, 2021, the new group was inaugurated and held its first official service with 41 members at the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church. Luis Manrique Pena, the pastor of Oakland Spanish church, helped train and equip the members during the first four months. Members then surveyed their community to determine its essential needs.

The Family Harmony Evangelistic program started on April 26, 2022. It provided guidance and solutions to common marriage, family, and relational issues with a Biblical emphasis. There were an average of eight to ten visitors each week.

In August 2022, Buena Tierra partnered with the Alameda County Food Bank to distribute groceries to the community. Approximately 40 households have been blessed weekly, and

Buena Tierra continues this outreach each Sabbath.

By February 2023, Buena Tierra had connected with 87 families in the community through their missional efforts. As a result, eight people from the community were baptized. Currently, the group has an average attendance of 70 people each week, including 15 visitors from the community receiving Bible studies.

With their success, the group is excited to start three new missional efforts: An Adventurer club, a Pathfinder club, and a monthly health seminar program.

The mission continues to be “Each One Reaches One.” They look forward to the future when they can bear more fruit, plant more churches, and continue to reach Oakland until the day Christ returns.

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Character and Sportsmanship on the Court

The 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 they are 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 score never separated by 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 was imminent, spectators wondered if the game was basically over. The crowd could be heard murmuring 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 nearby could hear the assistant firmly say, “Absolutely!” without hesitation.

At that point, the four remaining CVCA players took the floor, and 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 basketball is 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.

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“It was a spine-tingling moment to see sportsmanship from our coaches and players like this.”

Musical Inspires Students and Community

On the weekends of February 18 and 25, Pine Hills Academy showcased its live presentation of Les Misérables, which became a communityrelevant outreach.

The two-weekend theatrical production marked the 10th 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 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 31 of the school's 36 students were involved in the production. Responsibilities included singing, acting, lighting, audiovisual, curtains, and every other job behind the scenes. Krussow, also the school's English teacher, said, “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. Several volunteers said, “Terri was an inspiration who motivated and inspired the students to reach deep when performing this complex musical.” Students even sang a number from the play live on Sacramento's Fox40 television.

With the added attention, 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 transfer 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.”

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Loma Linda Church Commemorates African American History

The Loma Linda University church (LLUC) kicked off the month of February by commemorating African American history during all four of its Sabbath morning worship services on February 4, 2023. This was the church’s fourth such celebration in recent years, including virtual celebrations during the COVID-19 pandemic when worship services were entirely streamed online.

This year’s theme was “God’s Amazing Grace,” and each element of the services was indeed amazing and thematically linked. The sanctuary services featured exceptional music of the African American tradition, performed by the nationally renowned Inner-City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, under the baton of Charles Dickerson. Adrian Pressley, LLUC associate pastor, and the Kansas Avenue Church Praise Team also shared in song.

The sermons were delivered by G. Alexander Bryant, president of the North American Division, who spoke for the two traditional services. Andrea King, director of Communication for Southeastern California Conference,

spoke for the two Anthem modern services.

In his message titled “The Spirit of God Lifts,” Bryant affirmed how God, through His Spirit, has always lifted marginalized people out of bondage, oppression, and despair. “The Spirit of God within us will propel us forward to lift all people out of despair, especially those who have been marginalized. That’s the story of Black history,” said Bryant.

In her message, “The Audacity to Hope,” King urged worshipers, “Look for God in your story. Look at His presence instead of your pain.”

LLUC’s Black history celebration reflects the church’s resolve to be an inclusive faith community that celebrates the cultural diversity of its large, multiethnic congregation. The celebration was the vision of Pressley, who underscored the importance of churches everywhere to commemorate how God historically has shown Himself as Jehovah Mephalti, the Lord, our Deliverer.

Pressley noted, “Our theme this year, ‘God’s Amazing Grace,’ demonstrates how our Deliverer is able to take the darkest and most challenging circumstances we face and turn them into acts of resilience, triumph, and lessons about humanity for all people in amazing ways.”

LLUC Senior Pastor Randy Roberts agreed, noting, “In celebrating Black history, we strive to come alongside those who suffered and mourned to hear them give words to their sorrows.”

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TOP: NAD President G. Alexander Bryant shares the Sabbath sermon. ABOVE LEFT: Worshipers enjoy the Anthem service. ABOVE RIGHT: The Kansas Avenue Praise Team leads worship.

Jiu-Jitsu for Jesus: A Martial Arts Ministry in Redlands

Ijoined the jiu-jitsu class because my friend, Mikey Minimo, had been asking me to come with him for months,” explained Klenth Sasil, pastor of the Moreno Hills church in Moreno Valley. “Little by little, I fell in love with the art of it.”

Sasil admits he still doesn’t love martial arts, but he definitely sees the benefits—improved attitude, new perspective, increased discipline—and how these life lessons can be applied to his personal walk with God.

“It’s easy to incorporate my faith and spiritual journey into my jiu-jitsu experience,” he added. And that sparked a conversation between him, Minimo, and Daniel Calaguas, another friend taking the class with them, about how they could use martial arts to connect others to Jesus.

At a VBS event, Sasil and Minimo bumped into Filip Milosavljevic, youth pastor at Loma Linda University church, and they began chatting about their hobbies. When Minimo and Sasil mentioned jiu-jitsu, Molosavljevic commented that he’d been looking for a martial arts instructor to start a small group to connect in a different way with their local community.

“Mikey and I realized this was what we’d been praying for, too,” Sasil said. Within days, Sasil, Calaguas, and Minimo had connected with Professor Sunny Diego at Alliance Jiu-Jitsu Redlands, where they had been taking the class. Sunny, lead coach and owner, agreed to offer a weekly class free of charge through the University church’s Praxis Ministries. And

so JJ4J—Jiu-Jitsu for Jesus—was born.

The group of 25-30 local young adults participates in a Bible study before the class starts every week. They discuss their attitudes toward life and God, spiritual warfare, and how all of that connects to martial arts.

“Spiritual life is a war, and we have to fight,” Sasil said. “We’re using jiu-jitsu skills as a way of communicating the concept of defending ourselves in this battle between good and evil.”

What started out as three friends doing something new together grew into an effective community outreach. Sasil points out that spreading the Good Word doesn’t have to be awkward and it doesn’t have to be traditional.

“We didn’t want to be the weird ‘Jesus People’ to our classmates; we wanted to connect with them,” he said. “Jiu-jitsu was common ground, and now, thanks to this ministry partnership, discussing our faith is, too.”

Southeastern California Conference May 2023 47
From left to right: Klenth Sasil, Mikey Minimo, Sunny Diego, and Daniel Calaguas.
BELOW: Jiu-jitsu class in action.

Adventist Community Service Leaders Participate in Training Event

On January 29th, 2023, the Adventist Community Services (ACS) of the Southeastern California Conference (SECC) conducted an in-service training event for 65 ACS leaders. Held at the SECC offices in Riverside, the event's purpose was to discuss how best to engage with the community’s needs. Robert Edwards, the SECC ACS director, hosted the event. He partnered with North American Division (NAD) ACS Director Derrick Lea, and Associate ACS Director Colette Newer, providing vital insight and guidance.

Multiple items were on the agenda for the in-service training event, such as familiarizing leaders with the SECC Community Services web page and sharing information with the leaders on what the NAD ACS has to offer through grants and other funding. However, the central goal was to facilitate a productive discussion on how to expand the reach of ACS beyond its traditional outreach of food and clothing distribution.

Attending leaders were encouraged to engage in creative ways to address the needs of the community and to think outside conventional means of outreach to become more effective. Though new methods were discussed, leaders were asked to remember the core mission of ACS. The desire to reflect Christ in the community is the focus.

ACS has led many successful outreach events, each a testament to the gospel. The number and variety of active ministries under ACS have resulted

in some efforts going unnoticed and unappreciated on a broader scale. As such, the training event was intentional in expressing appreciation for all outreach efforts, educating the participants on certain ministries, and committing to unity.

ACS held a call to action for the leaders, inviting all members of ACS to work together for the focused effort of God’s glory. It is through unity and assembling to testify to the blessings of God that leaders are reminded of their purpose and pursue their calling to be the hands and feet of Christ.

“When it was all said and done, the participants were able to leave the in-service with a greater awareness of ways God has not only blessed their ministry but also the ministries of other ACS outreaches,” said Edwards.

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Lea dives deeper in discussion with a small group. Newer gives her insight to an attentive audience.

SECC Hosts First Young Adult Night

On February 11, 2023, Southeastern California Conference (SECC) hosted a young adult night of worship. The night of worship was a collaborative effort by several young adult departments from the conference.

The vision for this night started before the pandemic, explained Aren Rennacker, the youth and young adult director for SECC. He shared that he regularly meets with the young adult leaders to support their goals for their congregations. The idea for “Young Adult Night” originated in one of those meetings. However, when the pandemic hit, planning for the event was put on pause.

The leaders knew they did not want this event to be virtual, so they opted to wait until it was safe to meet in person. When that time came, and planning resumed, the world had changed dramatically. Many leaders had experienced a shift in attendance and felt their young adults were struggling. They hoped that a joint worship of this caliber could jump-start some of the ministries that had tapered out during the pandemic.

The leadership team, comprised of the planning, music, hospitality, and creative teams, wanted to create a young adult gathering tailored to address what young adults genuinely need. Rennacker explained that one of the team's primary objectives was leaning into creativity, and he shared a message about clarity. When asked why he chose that theme, he responded that he hadn't. The leaders chose the theme based on different conversations with their young adults. The team felt that a message on that topic would be meaningful. Based on the responses of the young adults, the theme was relevant to them.

Pastor Filip Milosavljevic, young adult pastor for the Loma Linda University church, said, "This young adult gathering was a huge success and met my expectations and so much more. The worship experience opened up a safe space for young adults to be themselves and see God stirring a revival."

Though this night of collaborative worship was the first of its kind, Rennacker expressed that young adult pastors across the conference hope to hold more events like this as it was clear the young adults found meaning in this space. They hope to continue planning events that foster a space for young adults to feel seen and supported by their conference and local churches.

Southeastern California Conference May 2023 49
PHOTOS: BEA BRAGA Jo Amaya worships in song. Young adults gather around the praise team for worship. Rennacker shares a message about clarity.

Los Angeles Adventist Academy Celebrates

100 Years of Adventist Christian Education

Since its start as a one-teacher school in 1923 and its expansion 23 years later to offer grades 1-12, Los Angeles Adventist Academy (LAAA) has had a rich history. Over the course of 100 years, challenges have come up, as they inevitably do; however, through it all, the school has stayed committed to the quality, life-changing education it was founded to provide.

The centennial celebration this March consisted of an entire weekend packed with activities, kicking off with a career day and concluding with a golf tournament.

The Sabbath service was a time of reflection on God’s leading of the school for the past century as well as a time to look forward to His leading in the future. The program featured various musical performances, recognition of alumni in attendance, remarks from numerous elected officials, and a powerful message from Carlton P. Byrd, president of the Southwest Regional Conference.

“The founders who established these schools [LAAA and its predecessors] in this sector of Los Angeles envisioned serving the spiritual, economic, and physical needs of our boys and girls from our Adventist churches and from the surrounding communities,” said James P. Willis II, Southern California Conference (SCC) vice president for education. “We look around this room and see the fulfillment of their visions. And we are here to celebrate all of what God has done in answer to their prayers.”

As the program began, SCC leadership recognized the significance of this occasion. “On behalf of the Southern California Conference, we thank you for being home to thousands of students for 100 years,” said Velino A.

Salazar, SCC president. “Your influence has been felt in the southern tier of the Los Angeles metropolis, across the conference territory, and beyond.” SCC Treasurer/ CFO Kathleen Diaz presented a gift of $10,000 to LAAA Principal Carol Todd.

Todd celebrated the school’s achievements, such as enhanced technology and continued support of both virtual and in-person learning. She recognized a significant increase in student enrollment, where “over 60% of our students come from the surrounding areas and may not experience Jesus in the homes or weekly church services.” Todd also shared initiatives in the works for LAAA in partnership with other entities.

Elected officials, including Maxine Waters, California congresswoman for the 43rd district, were in attendance to give support on this special occasion. Greg Mathis, star of the television courtroom series Judge Mathis and an Adventist education alumnus, was also present.

“I thank God for this institution that has prepared so many geniuses to make an impact around the world,” shared Anthony Paschal ’73. “We have seen attorneys, sports figures, doctors, and other professionals take off from the teachers that spent their time with us in this institution.”

If you wish to support the future of the school, follow this link to donate:

To watch the Sabbath morning celebration, visit:

50 Pacific Union Recorder Southern California Conference
LEFT: “The Elders” share a musical selection. RIGHT: Benita R. Knight ’75 prays over LAAA Principal Carol Todd as speaker Carlton P. Byrd, LAAA Alumni Association President Harold Burnett, and Pacific Union Conference Vice President for Black Ministries Virgil Childs lay hands. PHOTOS: LAUREN LACSON

El Camino a Cristo Spanish Congregation Is Organized as a Church

The church is so happy with this status; it’s a dream come true,” said Gustavo Mendez, senior pastor of the newly organized El Camino a Cristo Spanish church.

More than 20 years ago, a group known as El Evangelio Eterno was formed by members who sacrificed their time, money, and talents to push God’s mission forward. In 2010, this group was organized as El Camino a Cristo Spanish company, and 13 years later, the congregation celebrated its new church status.

For Pastor Mendez, who has been senior pastor for about two years, this milestone is especially meaningful. Ten years ago, El Camino a Cristo Spanish company was his first assignment as a youth pastor in the United States. “For me, it’s like coming back home,” he said. “When I first arrived at the church, they were so welcoming. They gave me the opportunity to grow, and many years later when I received the call to come back home, I knew I was ready to come back.”

The Sabbath afternoon celebration began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Southern California Conference (SCC) officers Velino A. Salazar, John H. Cress, and Kathleen Diaz and Hispanic Region Director Jaime Heras were present. Cress, SCC executive

secretary, prayed over the congregation before Diaz, SCC treasurer/CFO, cut the ribbon. Then, everyone walked into the sanctuary together as a praise team sang “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

This moment was inspired by the Israelites’ crossing the parted Red Sea, being in the midst of God’s miracles. “For our church, it’s been a history of continuous miracles,” Mendez said.

During the service, Salazar shared a message challenging the congregation to continue God’s mission in creating disciples. Cress and Salazar presented Mendez and church leaders with the certificate of organization, and Diaz provided a gift of $2,500 for evangelism.

While members Hector and Armando shared church history, they talked of the church’s food ministry outreach, which started during the pandemic in 2020. Just before the organization ceremony began, members were finishing up this outreach. Every Saturday, 30 volunteers serve about 100 people through the food bank, and that Sabbath was no exception. “The food bank helps us to connect with the community to provide spiritual and even financial support,” Mendez shared.

The celebratory day continued into the evening with the start of a week-long evangelistic series led by Bradford C. Newton, Pacific Union Conference (PUC) president, and Alberto Ingleton, PUC vice president for Hispanic Ministries, and livestreamed by TV Tu Mundo. By the end of the series, more than 20 people were baptized.

Southern California Conference May 2023 51
A ribbon-cutting ceremony initiated the church status celebration. Diaz (right) cuts the ribbon as Salazar (left) holds it in place. Newly baptized members pose with El Camino a Cristo church leaders and Pacific Union Conference leaders. More than 20 people were baptized as a result of the week-long evangelistic series.

SCC Hosts Pathfinder Bible Experience at Union Level

Each year, Pathfinders have an opportunity to demonstrate their Bible knowledge at the Pathfinder Bible Experience (PBE), the official North American Division Pathfinder Bible study program. During the PBE, Pathfinders are tested on assigned books of the Bible through four levels of competition: area, conference, union, and the division final.

This year, for the first time, the Southern California Conference (SCC) hosted the PBE’s union-level testing. Twenty teams from all seven conferences in the Pacific Union Conference converged at San Fernando Valley Academy on Saturday, March 25.

“It takes a lot of collaboration with different leaders to make it possible,” Sal Garcia, SCC youth ministries director, said of the event. “We’re blessed in SCC and our union to have Pathfinder leaders who are willing to give their time and resources to make this possible for Pathfinder clubs.”

On testing day, teams answered 90 questions on the book of John. Two SCC Pathfinder clubs, from Pasadena and Tamarind churches, were among the 10 first-place teams to score 90% or higher and advance to the division-level event that was held in Florida last month.

While PBE has been around since 2011, SCC has just

recently gotten involved. In 2021, SCC participated for the first time via Zoom, with areaand conferencelevel testing organized by thenPBE coordinator Javier Elenes.

This year, Matthew Reyes, member of Hollywood Spanish church, stepped in as PBE coordinator. As a longtime Pathfinder club ministries member who’s served as a junior counselor, drill instructor, deputy director, and master guide club director—to name a few—he was gently nudged into the role. After much prayer, and seeing the need for this program, he accepted the nomination.

“We encourage and promote academic excellence and athletic performance by enrolling our kids in extracurricular activities,” Reyes said, “but we should not—and in my view, cannot—let opportunities where our kids can grow spiritually pass by.”

“We are very proud of all the Pathfinders who have participated,” Garcia added. “We have seen the growth that’s taken place in each of their lives through spending so much time reading, studying, and memorizing God’s Word.”

Because this event is still new to SCC, many churches are still learning about PBE. However, Pathfinders have already shared their excitement with Garcia to participate at the area testing next year.

“I hope that PBE is here to stay in the SCC and that many more teams get involved in the program,” said Reyes. “It’s a fun and rewarding experience for all involved.”

52 Pacific Union Recorder Southern California Conference
Teams from Pasadena church (top) and Tamarind church (bottom) pose for group photos after awards are announced. Both teams advanced to the divisiontesting level in April. PHOTOS: ARAYA MOSS From left to right: Sal Garcia, Javier Elenes, Antonia Elenes, and Matthew Reyes. Javier and Antonia Elenes accept an award for their years of dedicated service. Former PBE and Pathfinder area coordinators, the Eleneses traveled from out of state to participate in this year’s PBE.

11 Teams Participate in Adventist Robotics for 16th Competition in SCC

Adventist Robotics in the Southern California Conference (SCC) goes back almost 20 years to the first robotics event held at Glendale Academy in 2005 with eight teams participating.

For years, robotics competitions in SCC were held annually, at times alternating hosting with neighboring conference Southeastern California Conference (SECC), but the pandemic interrupted that routine, like it did many others. The last SCC competition was held in Simi Valley in early 2020 with more than 20 teams; this year’s event was the first one since.

According to the program for this year’s event, FIRST LEGO League Challenge was “created to inspire youth to experiment and grow their critical thinking, coding, and design skills through fun hands-on STEM learning and robotics.” The Adventist Robotics League began in 2002 under the leadership of Mel Wade, technology integration and robotics education specialist, and is officially sanctioned by the FIRST programs.

“Science fairs are a good example of some visual addition and actual physical experiments, but we haven't had anything that advanced students can join in because many of the higher-level competitions or exhibits of learning take place on Sabbath, which makes it very difficult for us to participate,” shared Bob Dennis, interim associate superintendent at SCC. “To me, it’s the best, the

most visible visual exhibition of learning that involves a wide spectrum of ages.”

“Volunteers make it happen,” Dennis continued. Coaches are often parents, teachers, or any “interested personnel,” as Dennis puts it. In fact, for the very first event in 2005, an engineer working locally wanted to offer his skills and participate in the event, so he became a judge.

“This year, we made a concerted effort to have office personnel as a part of our volunteers in the various semiskilled areas, such as the judging, refereeing, and setup— some very complicated things—and our personnel did a great job.” One of the benefits, Dennis noted, of having participation from office personnel is that background checks are already completed, making for a safe and comfortable environment for all.

During this year’s event at Glendale Academy, 11 total teams from both SCC and SECC participated. Three teams took home first place: Linda Vista Adventist Elementary School Electro Falcons, Loma Linda Academy T-WaveTronics, and Antelope Valley Adventist School Antelope Valley Atoms. These winning teams will travel to Florida for the finals competition on May 7 at Forest Lake Academy.

To learn more about Adventist Robotics, visit

Southern California Conference May 2023 53
LEFT: Team Cougars 1 from Conejo Adventist Elementary School practice before their next round. RIGHT: Each team competes in three rounds to determine their high score. Team Antelope Valley Atoms from Antelope Valley Adventist School (left) are at the table with Team BumperBots (right) from Loma Linda Academy.


Central California Conference

Check online at for event updates and opportunities for you to get involved.

La Sierra University

Graduation 2023. Commencement weekend 2023 will be held June 16 – June 18. Conferring of degrees will take place Sunday, June 18, at 8 a.m. on Founders’ Green. For details, visit

Music Department Spring Gala. The Department of Music will hold its fundraising gala, “On Wings of Song,” Monday, May 22, at 5 p.m. at Troesh Conference Center, Zapara School of Business. Music faculty, alumni, and students will provide performances. Proceeds support student scholarships. To RSVP: https://fundraise.givesmart. com/e/nq3dTw?vid=y6ot2. For further information, email or call 951-785-2036.


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The Pacific Union Recorder is published 12 times per year with a circulation of approximately 75,000. For more information about advertising, please email to

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The Recorder pages are assigned to the local conferences, colleges, and health care institutions, and all content comes through the communication departments in those organizations. If you have a news story/idea, calendar announcement, etc., please contact your local communication department. See the masthead for contact information. Want tips for writing for us? See www.dailywritingtips. com/the-art-of-writing-news.

Recorder Membership

The Pacific Union Recorder is provided as a free service to members of the conferences that are part of the Pacific Union Conference (Arizona, Hawaii, Northern California, Central California, Southern California, Southeastern California, and Nevada-Utah). Each conference maintains the list of members, based on the reports from their churches. If you would like to make a change to your subscription (name, address, cancellation), please contact your local conference. The staff of the Recorder does not have access to the circulation lists, other than the paid subscriptions.

Choral and Wind Ensemble Concerts. A Choral Home concert will be held Sat., June 3, at 7 p.m., and a Wind Ensemble concert will be held Sunday, June 4, at 4 p.m. Both events will take place at Hole Memorial Auditorium. Admission is free. For further information, email music@ or call 951-785-2036.

Little Women: The Musical. Based on the life of Little Women author Louisa May Alcott, this musical follows the adventures of sisters Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March. Sat., May 20, 7 p.m. and Sun., May 21, 3 p.m. at Hole Memorial Auditorium. Tickets: calendar/2022-2023-season/. For further information, email or call 951-785-2036.

The La Sierra Report. Stay in the know and sign up to receive The La Sierra Report, an e-newsletter of the university’s interesting news and events. To subscribe, send your email address and subscription request to pr@

Pacific Union College

Senior Thesis Exhibition, May 20. See artworks from all PUC art seniors on Saturday, May 20, from 7-9 p.m. at the Rasmussen Art Gallery.

PUC Commencement, June 16-18. PUC is pleased to announce that this year, in-person graduation services will be held for the class of 2023. We are excited to honor and celebrate our graduates as they transition to the next chapter in their lives. For more information, visit graduation.

PacificQuest, July 2-7. PUC will host a weeklong summer “camp” on campus for students who have completed grades 6-8 and enjoy STEM subjects. Students who complete the program will earn one unit of college credit as they embark on academic programming and recreational opportunities. To register and learn more, visit Application deadline is May 15, 2023. Email or call the PQ Academic Director at 707-965-6636 with any questions.

PQ Rise, July 9-14. Pacific Quest Rise is for high school students who have completed grades 9-11 and are in the 90th percentile or have higher scores on STEM sections of the most current standardized test. They can earn one college credit at PUC as they take this program based on the Interdisciplinary Nature of Human Medicine. To register and learn more, visit Application deadline is May 15, 2023. Email pacificquest@ or call the PQ Academic Director at 707-965-6636 with any questions.

Subscribe to PUC Now Newsletter. Stay up to date with Pacific Union College by subscribing to their monthly newsletter at From campus stories and alumni features to student interviews, you’ll be in the know with PUC Now.

54 Pacific Union Recorder I Community & Marketplace
Community & Marketplace I May 2023 55


Retiring SDA optometrist in NW Calif. selling a very profitable practice. There are no other optometry, ophthalmology, or optician practices in this city or county. Local Adventist church and K-8 school. The office is 5 blocks from an amazing coastline with surrounding beautiful forests, beaches, and rivers. 1250 sq. ft. office with a wonderful staff. If interested, please contact

Travel on a faith-based tour to Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Rome, or to Vietnam on a special cultural discovery tour with Dr. Carl Cosaert, New Testament Professor at Walla Walla University. To learn more about these inspirational tours that renew your faith, visit www. or email

Holbrook Indian School is currently in need of a Food Service Director, Cafeteria Assistant, Maintenance Director, Maintenance Assistant, Grounds/Maintenance Assistant, a 1st- through 8th-grade Teacher, and a Registrar/Administrative Assistant. These are paid positions. In addition, there is an opening for a volunteer married couple to fill the role of House Deans in an offcampus housing capacity at the Eagle's Nest. If you or someone you know are mission-minded and would like to serve Native American children, please see or share our jobs page at

PUC Commercial Space for Rent. Pacific Union College has commercial real estate space available for lease. The spaces are in various sizes and functionality and are available for inquiries. For additional information, please email Sam Heier at

Southeastern California Conference is seeking a full-time Associate Treasurer for Risk Management and General Services. This position works under the direction of the Conference Treasurer to plan, direct, and coordinate risk management programs with churches, schools, and the conference office to control risks and losses. This position also directs the general services of the conference, which includes moving, maintenance, warehouse, security, safety, and switchboard oversite, as well as custodial and grounds/ landscaping and security services contracts. For information and a copy of the job description, please contact the SECC Human Resources Department at or 951-509-2351.

Thirty-eight beautiful acres for sale next to forestry land in Forbestown, CA. Elevation 2800’, two small streams, views, beautiful timber, divided into four parcels. Many building sites with water and power next door—or be off the grid. Paved to property with small roads throughout. Quiet endof-road paradise. 40 minutes to Oroville; 55 to Sacramento. $6,500/acre for entire property. Call/text Byron 432-987-3935.

56 Pacific Union Recorder I Community & Marketplace

At Rest

Aleme, Telahun “Al” – b. Nov. 19, 1942, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; d. Feb. 4, 2023, Bakersfield, Calif. Survivors: wife, Angela Latchman; son, Daniel Telahun; three grandchildren.

Bickner, Gerald – b. June 15, 1929, Dinuba, Calif.; d. Feb. 26, 2023, Hanford, Calif. Survivors: wife, Carolyn; son, Steven; daughter, Jeralyn Tatum; seven grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren. He attended Armona Union Academy, Lodi Academy, and Pacific Union College. He served in the Korean War from 1951-1953.

Bullas, Leonard R. – b. Dec. 8, 1929, Lismore, NSW, Australia; d. March 6, 2023, Loma Linda, Calif. Survivor: son, Graham Bullas.

Burford, Merl Elvira – b. Dec. 14, 1930, Panama City, Panama; d. Dec. 7, 2022, San Francisco, Calif. Survivors: sons, Michael, Mark; daughters, Marcia Burford, Melinda Holland; six grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; five great-great-grandchildren. She worked as a nurse’s aide for 45 years at Children’s Hospital in San Francisco. She served as Cradle Roll superintendent at San Francisco Philadephian church for over 30 years.

Christensen, Vera – b. Dec. 29, 1921, Nyborg, Denmark; d. Feb. 9, 2023, Loma Linda, Calif. Survivors: daughter, Berit von Pohle; two grandchildren; five greatgrandchildren.

Fenderson, Jacqueline – b. March 12, 1932, Sacramento, Calif.; d. Feb. 19, 2023, Chico, Calif. Survivors: husband, Claremore; son, Keith; daughter, Joanne Cochrane; sister, Barbara Reinholtz; four grandchildren; five great-grandchildren. She was an organist and treasurer for the Shafter church for many years. She had a passion for missions and was a

volunteer with Maranatha Volunteers International on 22 projects.

Finley, David Daniel – b. Dec. 10, 1946, Alexandria, Va.; d. March 6, 2023, Petaluma, Calif. Survivors: wife, Juliette; son, Donnie; sister, Deborah Knox; brother, DeWitt Reid; one grandson.

Grabow, Darolene (Balser) – b. May 8, 1937, Endicott, Wash.; d. Nov. 19, 2022, Greeley, Colo. Survivors: children, Kenny, Jim, Darla Humphries, Della Utt; four grandchildren.

Grosso, Edith – b. March 30, 1931, Fresno, Calif.; d. Jan. 23, 2023, Fresno, Calif. Survivor: nephew, Marcus Beedle.

Hardesty, Florence – b. May 7, 1932, Oakland, Calif.; d. March 10, 2023, Glendale, Calif. Survivors: three sons; 12 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; sister, Beverly Sammon.

Hindmarsh, Priscilla – b. Nov. 14, 1926; d. Jan. 15, 2023. Survivors: daughter, Heather Hindmarsh. Priscilla was an active part of Paradise Adventist church since 1975 and was actively involved with Paradise Adventist Academy alumni for many years.

Hodge, Doris Ione – b. Aug. 8, 1927, Retirement, Saint Elizabeth, Jamaica; d. Feb. 26, 2023, Redlands, Calif. Survivors: husband, Isadore Hodge; sons, Tony Hilton, Jax Lynton; daughters, Aline Mahabee, Neville Hodge; five grandchildren; two great-grandchildren.

Hoxie, Ann Elizabeth

Harding – b. March 11, 1936, Columbus, Ohio; d. Feb. 19, 2023, Loma Linda, Calif. Survivors: sons, Russell, John, Brent; five grandchildren; one great-grandchild.

Hutchins, Kenneth

W. – b. Jan. 18, 1933, Bellow Falls, Vt.; d. Feb. 6, 2023, Loma Linda, Calif. Survivors: wife, Beverly; son, Kenneth A. Hutchins; daughters, Krista Peterson, Kathy Hutchins; two grandchildren.

Lofgren, Carlton

Richard – b. Nov. 22, 1933, Spokane, Wash.; d. Feb. 13, 2023, Loma Linda, Calif. Survivors: wife, Raye; son, Rick;

Community & Marketplace I May 2023 57

daughters, Twylla Fowler, Carlla Westphal; 15 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren.

Lysinger, Myron Eugene "Gene" – b. Jan. 7, 1943; d. Nov. 30, 2022, Lincoln, Neb. Survivors: wife, Heather; daughters, Marisa Lysinger, Makayla Lysinger; brother, Walt Lysinger. He was a singer and choral conductor. He developed speaker designs and sound systems for many Adventist churches and schools.

Mitchell, Robert – b. June 2, 1923, Bellingham, Wash.; d. March 20, 2023, Loma Linda, Calif. Survivors: wife, Gladys; sons, Bob, Rick, Ron; four grandchildren; three great-grandchildren.

Neish, Ronald – b. April 27, 1931, Banff, Alberta, Canada; d. March 9, 2023, Oak Glen, Calif. Survivors: wife, Christine; sons, Brian, Kevin, Ronald (Bill); daughter, Valerie; 10 grandchildren; six greatgrandchildren. Elder Neish served as a literature evangelist in Canada and the U.S. He was a missionary in the Southern Asia Division for 10 years and served as the first president of the Bangladesh Union. He volunteered as a sheriff's chaplain for 23 years and ministered at ground zero at the World Trade Center after 9/11.

May 2023 Sunset Calendar

Olson, Beverly Dawn – b. Aug. 18, 1929, Minneapolis, Minn.; d. Sept. 27, 2022, Wichita Falls, Texas.

Survivors: daughters, Colleen Olson, Janelle Olson; sibling, Donna Wykoff; six grandchildren; six greatgrandchildren.

Pina, Reyna – b. Dec. 5, 1979, Mexico; d. Jan. 12, 2023, Strathmore, Calif. Survivors: husband, Manuel; son, Ulises; daughter, Baleria.

Pumford, Florence (Lewis) – b. March 24, 1926, Niles, Mich.; d. Feb. 24, 2023, Macdoel, Calif.

Survivors: husband, Larry; son, Dennis; daughter, Bonnie Reilly; four grandchildren; nine greatgrandchildren. Florence was an Adventist school elementary teacher and a pastor’s wife.

Reeves, John – b. Sept. 4, 1929, Derby, England; d. March 23, 2023, Loma Linda, Calif. Survivors: son, Michael Reeves; daughters, Heather Sue Few, Ann Jass; three grandchildren; two great-grandchildren.

Taylor, Maxine Janet – b. March 23, 1936, Los Angeles, Calif.; d. Dec. 19, 2022, Redlands, Calif. Survivors: husband, David; son, Daryle; daughter, Janet Green Smith; five grandchildren; three greatgrandchildren. Maxine was a dietitian at Oakwood College (now University) and was an instructor at Oakwood and Loma Linda University School of Allied Health Professions for many years.

Trimm, Benjamin – b. Jan. 25, 1939, Prichard, Ala.; d. March 30, 2023, Loma Linda, Calif. Survivors: wife, Joan; son, Eric Benjamin; daughter, Judith Carelock; two grandchildren.

Tym, William – b. Dec 20, 1927, Beauvallon, Alberta, Canada; d. Jan. 10, 2023, Hughson, Calif. Survivors: sons, Brian, Bradley; six grandchildren. William and his family served as missionaries for nine years in Taiwan.

Veneman, Charles – b. Sept. 30, 1936, Los Angeles, Calif.; d. Feb. 25, 2023, Fresno, Calif. Survivors: wife, Linda; sons, Robert, Michael; daughters, Carol, Heather, Colleen; 17 grandchildren; 10 greatgrandchildren.

Vipond, Winona Eileen Werner – b. May 12, 1931; d. March 10, 2023, Camino, Calif. Survivors: daughters, Cindy, Susie, Anita, Heidi; seven grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; siblings, Bob Werner, Donald Werner, Anita Werner. Winona was a Bible worker in South Dakota.

“So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.” Hebrews 4:9

Walter, Marianne – b. Nov. 30, 1950, Portland, Ore.; d. March 6, 2023, Loma Linda, Calif. Survivors: husband, Michael; son, Matthew; daughter, Maggie Herscher; sibling, Gordon Johnson.

58 Pacific Union Recorder I Community & Marketplace
City/Location MAY 5 MAY 12 MAY 19 MAY 26 Alturas (Modoc Cty.) 8:05 8:12 8:19 8:25 Angwin 8:05 8:11 8:18 8:23 Bakersfield 7:45 7:51 7:56 8:01 Calexico 7:26 7:31 7:36 7:41 Chico 8:05 8:12 8:18 8:24 Death Valley (Furnace Ck) 7:38 7:44 7:50 7:55 Eureka 8:17 8:24 8:30 8:37 Four Corners [E] 8:08 8:14 8:20 8:26 Fresno 7:51 7:57 8:02 8:08 Grand Canyon (South Rim) 7:19 7:25 7:30 7:35 Half Dome 7:52 7:58 8:04 8:10 Hilo 6:44 6:47 6:50 6:53 Holbrook (Navajo City) 7:09 7:14 7:20 7:25 Honolulu 6:58 7:01 7:04 7:07 Joshua Tree 7:32 7:37 7:42 7:47 Lake Tahoe 7:56 8:02 8:09 8:15 Las Vegas 7:31 7:37 7:43 7:48 Lodi-Stockton 7:59 8:06 8:12 8:18 Loma Linda 7:35 7:41 7:46 7:51 Los Angeles 7:39 7:45 7:50 7:55 McDermitt [N] 7:53 8:01 8:08 8:15 Moab 8:13 8:20 8:26 8:32 Monterey Bay 7:59 8:05 8:11 8:26 Mt. Whitney 7:33 7:39 7:44 7:48 Napa 8:04 8:10 8:16 8:22 Nogales [S] (Los) 7:39 7:45 7:50 7:55 Oakland 8:03 8:09 8:15 8:21 Paradise, CA 8:04 8:11 8:17 8:23 Phoenix 7:14 7:19 7:24 7:29 Pu‘uwaiau, Ni’ihau [W] 6:46 6:49 6:52 6:55 Reno 7:56 8:03 8:10 8:16 Riverside 7:36 7:41 7:46 7:51 Sacramento 8:01 8:08 8:14 8:20 Salt Lake City 8:27 8:34 8:41 8:47 San Diego 7:33 7:38 7:43 7:47 San Francisco 8:03 8:10 8:16 8:21 San Jose 8:00 8:06 8:12 8:18 Santa Rosa 8:06 8:12 8:18 8:24 Sunset Beach 7:59 8:05 8:11 8:16 Thousand Oaks 7:42 7:47 7:53 7:58 Tucson 7:07 7:12 7:17 7:21 [N]=Northernmost [S]=Southernmost [E]=Easternmost [W]=Westernmost point in the Pacific Union
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