Building the New

by Darla Lauterbach-Reeves

Are we focused on fixing the past? Or building the new?

Jesus has the power to make all things new—and one glorious day He literally and physically will. But, while we are still here, He helps us too.

He doesn’t erase the past, but He provides wisdom from it. He doesn’t change what hurt us, but He equips forgiveness for it and provides a testimony from it. He doesn’t remove the people; He teaches us new ways of relating to them.

In heaven, all our troubles will vanish. Until then, looking to Jesus in our hurts can lead to better decisions, courage, and change.

He doesn’t call us to live like our parents did. He doesn’t call us to live like our friends do. He doesn’t call us to cower to human beings. He calls us to follow Him. The King of the universe calls us to make Him the King of our hearts. And when we do, we should expect change. Changes in ourselves and in our circumstances.

The prophet Isaiah uses these words: “Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already—you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there” (Isaiah 43:19, GNT).

He goes to work on us and for us. Change is scary, but when we make Him the King of our hearts, we can also expect His help in these changes. He asks us to. Consider the words of the Psalmist: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you” (Psalm 32:8, NIV).

Sometimes the new things He is doing don’t seem good at first. They may even appear to be the very opposite of good. I’ve had this experience many times. What I thought was a disaster was really Him making His way. So I’ve learned to trust. I say, “Lord, I know You are working. This is how You create change. In all things.” We need to know God is still good and always good, even—and especially—when things are not.

Last week, I apologized to my daughter for mistakes I’d made. Almost immediately, Jesus lifted a burden from my heart. Today, no matter her opinion of me, I’ve done what He called me to do. And I thank God for that fresh start. May we all trust His love enough to be human. To admit where we’ve messed up. To humble ourselves, receive His mercy, and show our kids how to do that as well. I believe God put this burden on my heart to better my future relationship with my daughter. And I thank Him for that.

Building the new is exciting. With Jesus in our hearts, we can expect help when the waves crash. He may not stop the storm, but He will show us how to maneuver through whatever it may bring and how to receive His peace and strength in the midst of it.

We can’t change our past, but we can learn from it. We can’t change people’s minds, but we can love them anyway—and from a distance when necessary. We can’t force our way through circumstances, but we can ask God to lead the way and follow Him step by gracious step.

What are you doing today to better yourself? Your relationships? Your health? Your finances? Your future? Your something new? Let’s build something beautiful with God.


Darla Lauterbach-Reeves was raised in the church, but it wasn’t until her marriage fell apart that she came to truly know her Greatest Love—Jesus—in whom she found the relationship she had always craved. She is the author of the book He Loves Me THAT Much? available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

2019-09-22T10:10:26-07:00September 23rd, 2019|Living God's Love|

Pacific Union “All God’s People,” September 20, 2019 Episode 338

All God’s People episode 338, for the week of Sept. 20, 2019

In this week’s episode: News from Pacific Union College and La Sierra University, and a word about Public Campus Ministries! Learn which school made the list of 6 most beautiful campuses, and which was voted the most diverse university in the western United States the past five years!

Learn more about
Adventist Christian Fellowship:

Pacific Union College:

La Sierra University:

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“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” -Proverbs 2:6

2019-09-18T17:18:50-07:00September 18th, 2019|All Gods People|

Pacific Union ACS Teams Provide Continued Aid as Camp Fire Survivors Transition to more Permanent Residences

Faith Hoyt with Connie Vandeman Jeffery

Pacific Union Adventist Community Services (ACS) Director Charlene Sargent has been in motion for months now to coordinate specific kinds of support for Camp Fire survivors in Northern California.

In the last 11 months since the fire, many survivors have resided in hotels, with family and friends, and other temporary housing situations. This summer as survivors transitioned into more permanent places of residence, Sargent and her team helped provide items that recently became needs for these families: kitchen supplies.

Thanks to grant monies from Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and the North American Division (NAD), Sargent and her team purchased items needed to assemble kitchen kits, which included mixing bowls, silverware, pots, knives, baking ware, glasses, and more. Sargent then coordinated relief efforts with other agencies working in Northern California so as to distribute these supplies to survivors with verified needs. Though the process took time, ACS teams were able to host localized giveaways that ensured supplies were given to verified fire survivors. “We need to serve the people who need it,” Sargent said.

ACS has now hosted several kitchen kit giveaways in Northern California towns, including Yuba City, Orville, and Chico, and Gridley. The giveaways drew the attention of several news organizations, including KRCR News, who interviewed Sargent during their kitchen kit giveaway at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico. At each giveaway, survivors are directed to look for a red trailer with the disaster response logo.

Working along with ACS to help meet survivors’ needs are other organizations and groups.

“St. Vincent de Paul has provided some things like laundry baskets, mops and brooms, toilet brushes, and cutting boards,” Sargent said. According to Sargent, the kits weigh around 40 lbs., and these timely kits are serving as one crucial way to help return life to normal for survivors and their families. “These survivors have been eating out, or when they live with family or friends, it’s not the kind of food they’re used to eating,” she said. “They get to feel a sense of normalcy when they can make their own meals again.”

As a disaster relief organization, Adventist Community Services was present in the Camp Fire’s immediate aftermath—but their ministry continues as they help provide longer-term support for the survivors still working to put the basic pieces of their lives back together.


This summer, ACS hosted kitchen kit giveaways in Northern California towns, including Yuba City, Orville, and Chico, and Gridley. The kits included mixing bowls, silverware, pots, knives, and glasses—all items that have become needs now that Camp Fire survivors are transitioning into more permanent housing. (Photo by Charlene Sargent)


2019-09-10T08:59:06-07:00September 18th, 2019|News|

A Feast

by Ray Tetz

This afternoon we headed over to our local international grocery store, and for a few minutes I was my father—for whom a trip through the produce section of any kind of specialty market was a grand adventure.

I sauntered past the prepackaged stuff disdainfully, heading straight for the bins of vegetables and fruit that required a hand and eye well trained in their selection, and I got down to business.

We got some of those little Persian cucumbers that make great pickles but are also delicious to eat out of hand. Some local beefsteak tomatoes that will be too ripe to sell tomorrow. What they call “champagne” grapes that just look to me like the seedless grapes left on the vine behind the first picking. They are sweet beyond description. There were fleshy purple plums—soft but not too soft—and some sort of hybrid between a plum and an apricot that is just the sort of thing that would get my dad thinking about how to add a tree to his yard.

Since tomorrow marks the 16th anniversary of his passing, it’s been close to 20 years since I walked around a farmers’ market or produce department with my dad. You say that you’ll never forget all these little moments, but of course you do. At least, the way you remember changes— some moments become more memorable, even as whole years are all but forgotten. But I can still see him amidst the veggies, trading remarks with an old Asian woman who was skeptical about the quality of the cabbage, or helping a confused-looking new husband with a grocery list pick out some apples.

Driving home, I thought of how he would have riffled through the bags before he settled in behind the wheel, looking for something to taste test on the way. No doubt he would have selected the smallest of the cucumbers. After biting into it with a crack, he would offer it around the car in case any of us were so inclined.

Now I’m roasting garlic in the oven, and tonight for dinner we’ll carefully slice the Iranian flatbread we bought for no other reason than it looked like something Dad would’ve liked. We will layer it with French feta, thick slices of those fresh tomatoes, what’s left of the cucumbers, cloves of well-baked garlic mashed up into a pungent, earthy spread, with just a little salt. There’ll be some basil picked at the very last moment from the garden, and seconds on our favorites.

There will be some differences in how we do dinner. Instead of heavy sour cream, I’ll probably settle for some olive oil or maybe a bit of Japanese mayo. And we will likely sit down at the table and eat from a plate with a knife and fork, whereas he would feel most at home eating his supper standing over the sink, so if the juice from the tomato dribbled down his arms he could quickly wash up before going back for round two.

The last photo I have of my father shows him standing in the kitchen, looking for all the world as if he would be there whenever I wanted to find him. It was the day after his birthday, and we were all hoping against hope the treatments would work. We were all trying to say all the right things and do the right things and pretend that it was all just a drill. But it wasn’t.

He had looked up from packing a box of stuff from his own garden that he wanted us to take with us—even though he knew we were getting on a plane. How could we say no? They were his gifts, offered up by his own hand, as fresh and precious as the day itself. A feast.


Ray Tetz is the director of communication and community engagement for the Pacific Union Conference.

2019-09-16T09:29:48-07:00September 16th, 2019|Living God's Love|

Pacific Union “All God’s People,” September 13, 2019 Episode 337

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

From Sept. 15 to Oct.15 every year in the United States, we honor the contributions of Latino and Hispanic communities with National Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Learn more via the link below:

Remembering the Work of Pastor Marcial Serna

In the Seventh-day Adventist church our Hispanic roots are deep and strong. Did you know that the first Hispanic Adventist church was in Sanchez, Arizona? In 1899, in Sanchez, Arizona, Abel and Adiel Sanchez discovered while studying their Bibles that the day of worship was the seventh day, sabado. They learned that Marcial Serna, the pastor of the Tucson Mexican Methodist-Episcopal Church, had become an Adventist through the work of Adventist colporteurs, and they contacted him. Eventually so many of the Methodists in Sanchez became Adventists that the Methodists gave them their church on the condition that the Adventists help them build a new one—and the church in Sanchez became the first Hispanic Adventist church in the U.S. Learn more about Pastor Serna’s work in the Milestones article in the September Recorder, and also in a recent episode of All God’s People!
Watch the Milestones Episode: https://vimeo.com/353907755
Read More in the Sept. Recorder: https://adventistfaith.com/recorder/

September Recorder Highlights Oshkosh Camporee

The September magazine is in your homes, and features a special report! We extended our publishing deadline just a little longer to include an eight-page photo essay of our Pacific Union Pathfinders at the 2019 International Camporee. The theme of this month’s issue is “Hospitality” and there are a wealth of stories and feature articles highlighting this spiritual gift. We pray that the Recorder continues to bless and inspire you. You can also read it online at our website! Past issues are archived for your convenience, including three issues of the Recorder en español:

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“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” -Romans 12:10-13

2019-09-12T19:18:35-07:00September 12th, 2019|All Gods People|

Pacific Union Pathfinders Attend 8th International Oshkosh Camporee

By Ray Tetz, with Faith Hoyt and Connie Vandeman Jeffery

The 2019 International Pathfinder Camporee brought more than 56, 000 Pathfinders and leaders from 92 countries to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, during the week of August 12-17— including more than 7, 000 from the Pacific Union.

Representing the Pacific Union were over 230 clubs from each of the seven conferences. Each day of the Camporee included a host of different activities and events. This year’s list of honors and activities proved especially innovative and unique, and young people earned honors for endangered species, stars, tornados, lighthouses, stewardship, spaceflight exploration, braille, and refugee assistance.

Pathfindering is now a global youth movement—and it was nurtured and developed right here in the Pacific Union. Our history with Pathfinders goes back some 90 years, including foundational work done in the 1940s and 50s. Pathfinders was first adopted by a camp in Southern California and then a club in Anaheim. The first conference-sponsored Pathfinder clubs were in Southeastern California, and many of the most familiar aspects of Pathfindering—the triangular emblem used worldwide, Pathfinder Fairs, Camporees, the Pathfinder Song—all got their start here in the Pacific Southwest.

Our Pathfinder roots go deep and they continue to deepen. Each night on the main stage, Pastor Damian Chandler, lead pastor of the Sacramento Capitol City church in the Northern California Conference, and keynote speaker at Oshkosh, shared messages about God as our refuge—that He sees us, and that He has chosen us to do great things for Him.

At its core, the Camporee is designed to inspire young people to lift up Jesus in their lives. At this year’s camporee, 1, 309 young people were baptized—including some 200 from the Pacific Union. Thursday evening of Oshkosh was a special time for our Pacific Union clubs, as large crowds gathered on the left side of the main stage to participate as witnesses in the baptisms of dozens of young people from our conferences.

The 2024 Camporee theme was announced on the final day of the Camporee. The next Camporee theme is “Believe the Promise.” The dates for the 2024 International Pathfinder Camporee are August 12-17, 2024.


Damian Chandler, senior pastor of the Capitol City church in Sacramento, Calif., served as this year’s keynote speaker at the international camporee in Oshkosh, Wis. (Photo: NAD Flickr) 


The Oakland Spanish Robles de la Fe Pathfinder club were among many participating in pin trading, enjoying cool treats, and visiting the petting zoo while at Oshkosh. (Photo: Elvira Hernandez)


Luis Ruiz, a TLT and member of the Tucson Thunder Pathfinder club in Arizona, has been involved in Pathfindering since 2011. “The most valuable experience I’ve had so far has been interacting with other cultures and hearing people talk in different languages,” he says. “It’s been really fun.” This is his first time attending an international camporee, and he’s excited to make lasting memories—and lasting friendships. (Photo: Faith Hoyt)


Hundreds of Pathfinders participated in the Drill and Drum Corps Competition, including the Kansas Ave. church Pathfinder club from Riverside, California. Before competing early Friday afternoon, some of their team posed for a photo with Sandra Roberts, president of the Southeastern California Conference. Kansas Ave. Pathfinders took home the 2nd place International Drum Corp competition award later that day. (Photo: Faith Hoyt)


On Thursday evening at Oshkosh, a group of six Pathfinders from the Aiea Ali’i Pathfinders in the Hawaii Conference performed a hula dance inspired by the camporee’s theme and the story of David. The song, “In the Palm of My Hand,” and the hula illustrated how we are held by God. The group began practicing the hula dance in May—and were excited to bring a piece of their Hawaiian culture to Oshkosh. Hula dancers: Danielle Roberts, Allie Clapp, Kimberlee Guadiz, Bethia Taylor, Danssyne Roberts, and Cailyn Castaño. (Photo: North American Division)


Thousands gathered on Wednesday afternoon of Oshkosh for a parade of Pathfinder clubs from several unions across the North American Division. Marching down Celebration Way with the Pacific Union clubs were some of the Union’s administrative team, who joined in support. (Photo: Faith Hoyt)


The Arizona Conference brought a particularly special surprise for Pathfinders at Oshkosh—a Reformation expo complete with a replica of the 95 Theses. The display was designed and built entirely by Arizona pastors. The roof and fencing were built at Thunderbird Adventist Academy, and the whole display took five days to assemble at Oshkosh. Included in this expo are portraits and stories of major reformers such as John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, and Martin Luther, as well as pages of the Gutenberg Bible printed in 1455. Each day, hundreds of Oshkosh attendees made their way through this piece of living history and took away their own copy of the 95 Theses. (Photo: Faith Hoyt)


The Ukiah Timberwolves—a group of 19 Pathfinders from Ukiah, Calif.—spent their first full day at Oshkosh earning honors such as the Tornado honor and the Star honor. For some of the group, the trip to Oshkosh took 38 hours to get to the camporee. From left: Samantha Ahumada Garcia, Tori Corbett, and Gabriella Deleon hold up their club pin. (Photo: Faith Hoyt)


Top of page: Nikko Bedoya, a member of the Inland Empire Filipino Pathfinder Club, participated in Wednesday’s parade by holding his club’s banner. Bedoya was most excited about participating in some of the many events hosted at the International Pathfinder Camporee. (Photo: Faith Hoyt)

2019-09-11T09:56:49-07:00September 12th, 2019|News|

Seventh Annual iShare Conference

By Bill Krick

The 2019 iShare conference was held at the Riverside Convention Center on Aug. 16-17. Now in its seventh year, iShare is an annual conference sponsored by the Pacific Union Conference that seeks to help equip young adults with the fire to share the gospel and the skills to do so effectively.

The theme of the conference this year was “Think Different.” Speakers included Clifford Goldstein, editor of the Adult Sabbath School Quarterly; Anil Kanda, young adult coordinator at Central California Conference; Chef GW Chew, founder of the Veg Hub Restaurant and Something Better Seventh Annual iShare Conference Foods, and Cynthia Heidi from the Nicodemus Society. More than 1, 100 young adults attended the event.

Through inspiring music and thoughtful presentations, attendees were encouraged to RE-examine how they have approached their faith, REthink current worldviews, RE-vive the zeal and “gospel fire” that may have cooled, and RE-store the love for our shared faith.

A highlight of the iShare conference was a baptism on Sabbath afternoon during which 18 young people committed their lives to Jesus Christ.

A ministry of the Pacific Union Conference, iShare seeks to connect young people with Christ in a personal relationship that will bring spiritual revival and awaken the desire to do evangelism. The ministry provides training and resources for young people in the Pacific Union, fostering a year-round lifestyle of evangelism.


2019-09-10T16:39:20-07:00September 11th, 2019|News|

Northern California Conference Moves Headquarters

By Julie Lorenz

This summer, the Northern California Conference (NCC) moved its headquarters to a new office building at 2100 Douglas Blvd. in Roseville. The office officially opened for business on Aug. 5.

The building is the former headquarters of Adventist Health, which recently relocated to a newly constructed building, also in Roseville. Adventist Health is leasing about a quarter of the NCC office for some of its operations.

Through the years, the headquarters of the Adventist church in Northern California has been located Lodi, Santa Rosa, and Oakland. For the past 47 years, the NCC has been based at 401 Taylor Blvd. in Pleasant Hill.

Roseville—about 20 miles northeast of Sacramento—is more easily accessible to a greater number of church members throughout the conference territory and has a lower cost of living than the previous location in the East Bay.

For the time being, the NCC operated Adventist Book Center store, located in the Pleasant Hill building, is still open for business. In the near future, the Pleasant Hill ABC and the Sacramento ABC (located on Madison Avenue) will join together into a single store in the NCC headquarters.

Photo: President Marc Woodson (left) and Executive Secretary Jose Marin (right), along with some Northern California Conference employees, stand in front of the new NCC headquarters in Roseville


2019-09-10T16:42:57-07:00September 11th, 2019|News|

The Right Way

by Becky De Oliveira

A few weeks ago, my son and I left home at 3:00 a.m. to climb Mount Massive, the third tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. Normally I wear my hiking shoes while I drive, but this time I felt like being extra clever. I wore a pair of soft and flexible Keen slip-ons with my socks and threw the hiking shoes in the backseat. I’d put them on at the trailhead and enjoy the comfort of the drive both there and back with softer shoes.

It was still dark when we arrived, and the parking lot was nearly full. I was lucky to snag the last space, next to a minivan whose driver had all his doors open making it hard for us to maneuver into the space at all. I felt a little stressed and anxious to remember everything. I’d neglected to hang my headlamp around my neck the way I usually do, so I had to dig through the pack to find it. One of my water bottles was leaking. I had some trouble seeing my extra strap well enough to tighten it sufficiently to keep my water bottles from tipping out of their pockets. The previous day I’d read a recent trail report citing early-morning mountain lions stalking hikers on this particular trail, so there was that. But, finally, we were ready to begin, and we headed up the trail chatting cheerfully—considering it was not yet 6:00 a.m. I hit “outdoor walk” on my Apple Watch so I could track our distance and time.

We were about 0.6 miles up the trail—an uphill section—when dawn illuminated the landscape enough that we could turn off our headlamps. I happened to glance down at my feet at this point, and—you guessed it—to my horror I saw that I was still wearing the Keens. In my rush to get everything together and get moving, I’d completely forgotten the hiking shoes resting peacefully on the backseat of the car.

It’s important to note that on many occasions I’ve noticed the inappropriate gear—sometimes specifically footwear—I’ve seen on Colorado’s fourteeners (mountains with an elevation of at least 14, 000 feet). There was the guy at the summit of Bierstadt wearing a pair of shiny lace-up leather dress shoes. The guy on Longs Peak wearing a black zippered leather jacket like The Fonz. “What do these jokers think this is?” I’ve asked, rhetorically. Obviously, they aren’t thinking. Obviously, they’re idiots. And now I’m one of them.

I already feel shame when hiking because I rarely have more than perhaps four of the ten essentials in my pack (Shh, don’t tell my dad!) but at least that incompetence is hidden. Who’s to know? My feet, on the other hand, are out there for anyone passing by to see.

I considered going back to the car to get the shoes, but that would have added 1.2 miles to an already 13-mile hike—one in which the threat of early afternoon lightning is always present, making an early start essential.

I made a judgement call; I hiked Mount Massive in bendy slip-on flat-style shoes—what the Keen company calls “Mary Janes.” I cringed every time we encountered another group of hikers—especially at the summit where we lingered for some time listening to a group of men from Texas or Missouri debate whether Massive was the tallest mountain in the United States (well, no) or whether it was Mount Shasta (again, no), but I couldn’t even bring myself to be particularly judgmental about it. They were having fun. My son and I were too. The weather was perfect—bright blue sky, not too much wind. We basked in the sun and in the panoramic 360-degree view of the Rockies. We shared a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. We were back at the car by 1:45 p.m., and my feet didn’t bother me one bit the whole way.

Yesterday, in a church discussion group, someone mentioned how much they wish there was a model of someone who actually lives life in a way that is good and admirable—the implication being that, in their view, no such model exists. I had two thoughts: first, that our model is supposed to be Jesus, and second—the more interesting thought, in my opinion—that I see models all around me, every day. Sure, not many of us are doing it “the right way.” We’re wearing the wrong shoes; we don’t know which mountains are the tallest; we come from Texas (kidding). But so what? Most of the time we muddle through, half-cocked and unprepared, and we do a reasonable job of life all the same. I look around and mostly I feel proud of us.

Paul writes, in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (ESV). Doesn’t that mean that we can live with boldness and courage and stop worrying about whether we have our ducks in a row? We don’t—and we never will. We’ll climb the mountain anyway. We will live happily ever after.


Becky De Oliveira is a teacher, writer, and graphic designer working on special projects for the Pacific Union Conference from her home in Colorado.

2019-09-09T09:56:30-07:00September 9th, 2019|Living God's Love|

Pacific Union “All God’s People,” September 6, 2019 Episode 336

All God’s People for the week of Sept. 6, 2019
Episode #336

“Back to School” with our Top 10 Pacific Sunrise Stories

Each Tuesday and Thursday, we send out a new edition of “Pacific Sunrise,” an email that shares the most interesting, exciting, and inspiring stories that are impacting our members and our communities. We thought it would be interesting to go “Back to School” this week, as our teachers and students are all returning to the classroom over the next few days, or have already returned! Here is our Top 10 Pacific Sunrise story picks since the first edition last January.

Here we go—

#10 – Fresno Adventist Academy Expands STEM Program with Versacare Grant

#9 – PUC Preparatory School Takes Fitness Class Outdoors

#8 – Hawaiian Mission Academy Visits Camp Erdman

#7 – Linda Vista Robotics Team Earns First Place at National Championship in Florida

#6 – San Gabriel Academy Students Build a Playground

#5 – Summit Christian Academy Students Make Electricity

#4 – Students Become Published Authors at Valley View Adventist Academy

#3 – Lodi Adventist Academy Invites Special Guests to Banquet

#2 – Calexico Mission School Students Reach Out to Soldiers

#1 – Rubber Boots Required: Napa Christian Delves into Learning Outside the Classroom

Join the growing list of Pacific Sunrise subscribers!

These Top 10 stories were first featured in Pacific Sunrise! Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, we send out two stories that we find inspiring, engaging, and important to our community as Adventists. Join us for another year as we highlight our schools, churches, and ministries!


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“O taste and see that the Lord is good!” -Psalm 34:8

2019-09-06T00:15:00-07:00September 5th, 2019|All Gods People|