In the days following the utter devastation Hurricane Maria caused in Puerto Rico, Nazarene churches there have mobilized to respond – in partnership with other Nazarene churches around the world.

Last week, a planeload of humanitarian aid supplies were shipped to Puerto Rico. A group of 30 volunteers from local Puerto Rican Nazarene churches spent hours offloading the supplies including water filters, thousands of Crisis Care Kits sent from many Nazarene churches, and 42,000 pounds of food packets donated through a partnership with Convoy of Hope. Next day more volunteers and pastors began the process of distributing the supplies to vulnerable families and individuals in more than 10 communities.

Volunteers from a Nazarene church in Dorado went to an impoverished mountain town where they regularly minister, to distribute food and care kits.

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Wall Fire Update

Back in early July the Wall Fire broke out, although it only lasted a week, it created a lot of unrest and concern for Oroville residents. Once the fire was extinguished many started moving back onto their property. Some found amazing things, fire that burned up to their eves, but didn’t touch their house, other found fire that had burnt all around their house, but others found nothing left when they went home. 41 residence were destroyed, some have been able to start to rebuild, but almost three months later some are still waiting for clearance to get on their land. One of the big hurdles has been cleaning up the hazardous waste. A second hurdle was getting power poles replaced that burned up. Several weeks ago Gridley Electric donated three poles for fire victims. So now the need was to get the power poles to the property. A local business in town, “Shifflet Bros.” a trucking company, was approached to pick up the poles and take them to the properties. They agreed to help, and that same day the poles were dropped on each persons property.

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All Church Picnic 2017

A lot of people showed up last Sunday afternoon at the Forebay to just visit, connect, eat some good food, and play some games. Despite high winds, everyone had a great time and the Men’s Ministry did a fantastic job of setting up, hosting and cooking. Thanks Men for providing an opportunity for the OroNaz family to just hang out and connect with each other.

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Celebrating 25 Years of Ministry Together

As we celebrated 25 years of our recovery ministry with a BBQ and Chili Cook-off many memories came flooding back about how God has used our recovery ministry in our city. In attendance were many who had been with us over the years and many who were with us for the first time ever.

The Chili Cook-off was won by Tri County Treatment followed close on their heels by the first runner up, The Hope Center. We had more contestants from the local Recovery community then ever before and look forward to celebrating the close of National Recovery Month in this way for years to come.

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The Glorious End of Cathy’s Journey

This is Ron writing again. One final post. My dearest partner of 48 years has been called home to glory. She left us about 6:50 PM on Tuesday evening, Sept. 12, 2017. Her hospital bed here at her beloved Stonehaven was surrounded by dear friends and family. It was truly a moment of deep joy juxtaposed with excruciating sadness. All of our children were able to be with her. At one never-to-be-forgotten moment on Saturday evening, we all gathered around her and sang some of her favorite songs to her and watched her respond with a tear.

Her final decline was very rapid. She was able to be out getting gorgeous at the hair dresser last Tuesday, and a week later she drew her last breath. We employed Hospice, and they were wonderful. Scores of friends stopped in to spend an hour or five sharing in the sweet sorrow of the round-the-clock vigil.

As I wrote in the last post, Cathy was living out the verse she had chosen as her life verse at age 16. She lived it out to the very last drop of her earthly life: “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil. 3:10).

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Help In The Fiery Furnace

This is Ron writing. It has become increasingly painful for Cathy to use her hands to type. So, she asked me to bring all your dear friends and family up to speed on her situation. She is humbled, blessed, and touched deeply by the great multitude of people who follow these posts and pray diligently and fervently for her. Thank you for your incredible love and care for my precious partner of 48 years.

When Cathy first received Jesus into her life at age 15, she decided to adopt a “life verse” that would sum up her heart’s longings as a follower of Christ. The Lord led her to Phil. 3:10, and it became the passion that energized her spiritual pursuits: “That I may know Him (Jesus), and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” In the early decades of her life she never wavered from an abiding hunger to know Jesus in an increasingly intimate relationship. She also fervently pursued the ways that His resurrection power could be manifested in and then through her. I have been an eye witness to her remarkable story. God has granted her desire in amazing depth and abundance. As her husband, through the years I have often felt dwarfed both by the intimacy she has been allowed to cultivate with Jesus, and the way God has poured resurrection power into her hands. You who love and care for Cathy are the legacy of her pursuit of Jesus and His power.

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Journey Youth Ministry Launches

Journey started up this last Tuesday for the new school year. We meet on Tuesday’s from 6-8 at the church in the Cafe. This years Fall theme is “Come and See” based on John 1:39 where Jesus responds to John the Baptists disciples question of “…where are you staying?” with “come and see.” Jesus invites us to come and see, to come and know Him more. It’s one thing to know of Him, to be told about Him but it is another thing altogether to know Him by walking with Him.

This past Tuesday we had 50 teens show up for our first meeting of the year and i couldn’t be more encouraged. They came hungry…

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Praise Report from Janet Neimeyer

Janet got home on August 3, Thursday last week. Praise God!!!! We danced just a little… it was the slowest song I could find.

She had a great three-week stay at Enloe rehab center, including about a half hour to 45 minutes twice daily each of physical, occupational and speech therapy. I can’t say enough about how fantastic Enloe rehab center is. It’s like Elysium, the space ship from the movie. A quiet, clean, cheery, spacious place, almost too good to be true. I can’t believe we got in there without being millionaires and not having to fight tooth and nail with the insurance company. Fantastic staff all around; Mark in speech, Hillary in occupational, and Kayla in physical all stand out in our memory, but every staff member there from the housekeeping or CNA’s to administration, admittance and even case managers treated Janet with ultimate respect and pushed her to the limits, sometimes beyond…

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Laughter; sounds of kids playing crazy games, both in a pool and on the field; leaders and Jr Leaders smothered head to toe in chocolate; kids and grownups gathered around the camp fire making s’mores. These are just a few of the crazy fun activities that we enjoyed at Kids Camp and Camp 56 this summer. Let’s not forget Jr High and High School camps.

The same laughter with crazy cheers also came from the lake as the high school students had to navigate their cardboard boats (yes I said cardboard boats) in a race to the finish line, only to find out that the race didn’t end there. After the boats finished the race, an all-out war ensued to see who’s boat would be the last boat floating. It was an epic game of life size cardboard boat battleship.

And how about those same cheers when the Jr High students pushed through the obstacle course, climbing ladders and running through tunnels, shooting the target with a paintball guns all before finishing the race in a people-drawn chariot. They also played a life-size Hungry Hippo game in the pool, using rubber rafts and mini pool balls. Yes, bringing back the old games from the 80’s was a hit!

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Journey Heads to Summer Camps!

Summer camps are entirely tiring, yet i look forward to them every year. This year i also directed Jr. High Camp and in a way Co-Directed Sr. High Camp. What an amazing blessing to be a part of a time in a student’s life where their whole focus, if lead properly, can be given to the Holy Spirits work in their life. To have the ability to be a vessel used by God in a way that directs young people into personal reflection and for some a relationship my Savior Jesus.

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Little girls want to know that they are loved by their daddy’s. And every little girl wants to know that they are loved and valued. Little girls like Ava Grace, who came to Ties & Tiaras with her grandpa, because she lost her daddy to a heart attack two years ago. Little girls like Annalyse or Taylor, who both have a daddy, but also have two sisters and a brother to share him with. Like Shayla, who has a daddy who is currently in Jordon Crossing, learning how to be the daddy she has always dreamed of while battling addiction.
These families all have one thing in common, they are raising little girls. And the struggle is real, because the world will whisper lies to these little girls throughout their life.

But that night their daddy’s and daddy figures whispered absolute truth to them as they gathered them in their arms to dance, dine, pledge their love and show them how real men treat a lady.

See pictures and learn more about Mom’s & Son’s Super Hero Night also.

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On Sunday evening, June 11th, the Cornerstone Ministries kicked off the summer activities with a good, old-fashioned Ice Cream social and Gospel Sing. The long season of abundant rain seems like a distant memory as we advance into the hot summer months. A good way to start the summer is to gather with fellow followers of Jesus and feast on a smorgasbord of ice cream; and feast we did. When you reach the Cornerstone season of life, there are some blessings from the Lord that stand out, and good ice cream is one of them.

This year, we extended the invitation to four churches for their seniors to join us for the evening. We recognized Pastor Ed Hall and his wife Cassandra of the Wynn Memorial Church of God in Christ for their service to our community. Pastor Hall is a chaplain for the Butte County Sheriff’s Department and a good friend of Sheriff Kory Honea. His ministry and leadership have been felt and appreciated in the Sheriff”s Department. He came with a number of his seniors and enjoyed the evening immensely. Pastor David Goodson and his wife Janet of the Taylor Memorial Church of God in Christ, also came and shared in the fellowship. Janet Goodson was recently elected to the Oroville City Council.

After dessert, we focused on singing together some of the gospel songs from years gone by. Stephanie Hayden led us, with Terry Smith accompanying her on the keyboard. The songs she chose were not just “oldies but goodies.” They reminded us of the Gospel Story each one of us has experienced “in Christ.” We began by enthusiastically singing, “Victory in Jesus,” and then the tempo changed and we experienced the personal presence of Jesus as we testified and sang “He Touched Me.” We sang other favorites like “Amazing Grace.” “It is Well With My Soul,” “The Old Rugged Cross,” and “Because He Lives.” It was evident that during this part of the service, there were hardly any spectators. There was full participation as we praised the Lord together.

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A few years ago when Pastor Shane and her team were in the process of launching this Co-op program I really didn’t know what to expect or if it was really going to work. I was on board, but very curious and somewhat skeptical. Fast forward two years I am constantly blown away at what God is doing in this tremendous blessing of a ministry called OroNaz Co-Op.

By the grace of God I am able to be a stay-at-home parents with our 3 year old, Hosanna, 1 ½ year old Zechariah, and soon, a new little blessing due in September. While I love what I am called to do, there are many voids that the co-op fills that I couldn’t do on my own. For example, as I work down my list of daily “to-dos” I often forget to let my kids have focused play learning time. Co-op helps with that. My kids get to have FUN while learning! In this last year, just going to one day a week Hosanna has learned her letters, numbers, colors, shapes, some fun songs, and so many other daily lessons in record time. While we were working on these things at home I know she wouldn’t have picked it up as fast as she has with her friends & leaders by her side. She has helped rake “leaves”, shovel “snow”, “milked a cow”, release ladybugs, made music, planted flowers, and so much more.

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Cathy & I stood before this OroNaz congregation in January 2015 and shared the story of our journey of faith through her season of stage-four cancer. We told you that we we’re going to choose to believe God’s promise that His strength would be perfected in our weakness, and that whatever the future may hold, we were going to cling to Him in faith.

Well here we are, 2½ years later, and we have been the grateful recipients of a host of blessings as God has made good on that promise. We have surely felt our weakness, and He has surely shown His strength! It’s time to give you a report on His faithfulness.

God has not chosen to heal Cathy yet, so a good portion of her struggle has been labeled as pain, treatments, treatments, treatments, doctors, pills, MRIs, PET scans, neuropathy, loss of balance, falls, etc. But there has also been an excruciating emotional component to her season of weakness – the grief of coming to terms with loss: she hasn’t been able to drive for three years, she has to watch while others perform the tasks she used to do, she has to take naps when others are going strong, etc. Tears have been frequent travelers with Cathy on this hard journey.

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Most people have heard of the Hope Center, and the food bank, not everyone has heard the story of the beginning of this ministry. This is not that story. Although the humble beginnings needs to be shared to understand the dynamics of what has transpired. What started out as a simple act (and not so simple act) of obedience from the prompting of the Holy Spirit, has exploded in the most amazing way.

A simple sack lunch given to a homeless man 10 years ago, has grown into 1,599 bags and boxes of food given out in our local community for the first quarter of 2017. Now understand, this is not the amount of meals served to those in need. This is the amount of food boxes we have been able to give lower income families, the elderly that are on fixed incomes, families in general that have momentarily hit a hard time.

Through the green bags program, A Simple Gesture and donations from various companies we have essentially become a distribution center as well. We redistribute donated food to 45 other agencies in Northern California. Oroville has become a hub of sorts. We have been able to share our vast wealth of generosity to the entire northern region.

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There is a song we sometimes sing together that sums it up; “Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One, give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son. And now, let the weak say “I am strong.’ Let the poor say, ‘I am rich,’ because of what the Lord has done, for us. Give Thanks!”

In the aftermath of the Oroville Dam spillway crises, life has returned to normal. The rains are behind us and summer is here. The sobering threat that loomed so large has shrunk to the background. We could have been dealing with the devastation and loss of downtown Oroville and the communities down river. But, God heard the cries and prayers of His people, and in His mercy, intervened for us.

Have we taken the time to say thank you and express out praise to God? Remember the story in Luke 17:11-19? Ten men suffering with leprosy met Jesus on the road, and began to cry out together, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us.” Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priests, and while they were on their way, they were healed. Their desperate cries touched Jesus’ heart and he intervened on their behalf.
All ten were healed, yet, only one returned to praise God and give thanks. Jesus seemed somewhat disappointed that the others did not also return and express their praises to God. He asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the others?”

In view of God’s great mercy and grace, the Greater Oroville Partnership of Pastors. felt it was important for the Body of Christ to gather together and invite the community to join us. Our purpose was to say thank you, and publicly declare the GREATNESS OF OUR GOD.

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Life can be challenging…and scary sometimes. The Good News thought is – we’re never alone. Jesus is with you…and everywhere all the time. A nd there’s more…
When we believe in Jesus not only are you ushered back into the presence of your heavenly Father but, also, we become members of an extended forever family – brothers…sisters… men…women and children who love the Lord and you and me. Yahoo!
Let me give you a personal example of why that’s so important. My husband and I got introduced to the being-loved-by-the-family-of-God concept in some rather powerful and profoundly significant. Steven, my hubby, was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder 41/2 years ago. After a multitude of hospital visits, near death experiences and hundreds of dialysis treatments – we have both experienced the miraculous love of Jesus pouring into our lives in hundreds of different ways via His extraordinary and loving family:

The Lord has been busy molding this group of teens into genuine worshippers of the King. The Spirit guiding us on in our pursuit of Him. The teens all at different points on their journey yet all converging in these moments in fields of roses. Each one stopping to smell, pausing to take in every moment the Spirit has for us in our gatherings. Our altars are full each week with the seek-ing heart of teens. We celebrate communion regularly each teen weighing their own relationship with Jesus, measuring faith, accepting grace, leaning into His arms of love.

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Wednesday I got a call from Janet’s coworkers that I needed to come down there at work, that she was sick. I called to find out that they thought it was a stroke, and that the ambulance was already there.
Apparently during their morning staff meeting and prayer at around 9:30 she started forgetting words and names, even of her own children. They just thought she was under a lot of pressure and so didn’t get alarmed. They all went and had coffee together in the break room and everybody went to work at each of their offices.

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There are moments in our journey with Jesus that cause us to pause and smell the roses, if you will. We have had some very, rose smelling moments during Journey Night that meets on Tues-day. Journey Night is our weekly gathering in the youth room. These moments have drenched our meetings over the past several months as we have been focusing on Colossians 3 and more currently John 4 and the account of the woman at the well. It has hinged, however, on this phrase from the Message Bible and Colossians 3:1 “So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it.” It’s well known now to say, “If you are serious, ACT like it!” and everyone knows exactly what you are talking about.
The Lord has been busy molding this group of teens into genuine worshippers of the King. The Spirit guiding us on in our pursuit of Him. The teens all at different points on their journey yet all converging in these moments in fields of roses. Each one stopping to smell, pausing to take in every moment the Spirit has for us in our gatherings. Our altars are full each week with the seek-ing heart of teens. We celebrate communion regularly each teen weighing their own relationship with Jesus, measuring faith, accepting grace, leaning into His arms of love.

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Mrs Z

One of Geri’s “favorite” terms in our young married life was the moniker of ‘working mom’. We had made the commitment early on in our marriage to live with less so she could be a ‘stay at home mom’. (We recognize that things are different these days). She used to rankle at the term ‘working mom’ because she would say to me “I wonder what they think I do all day?” I came to learn over time that it was not a real question to be answered…;)
The truth of the matter was that her selfless and caring spirit in the ‘raising the kids department’ came under attack daily…both from inside and outside the home. Nevertheless she carefully and lovingly persisted in making the home ‘work’ for all of us. So many women ‘back in the day’ did equal love duty for their families and have earned the honor due them on Mother’s Day every year. While the complexities of 21st century living has changed the way motherhood may look currently…it hasn’t changed the way it feels to moms!
It reminds me of the story of Mrs. Z in Luke’s gospel. You remember her of course as the unnamed catalyst of Luke’s story in chapter 19…

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