JANUARY 2021 PPAC Newsletter
2020 is over. Let me say that again: 2020. is. OVER. While we don't know what 2021 will bring (besides a freezing rain winter snow system that's icing over the area as I write this), it's a good reminder that no time of trouble lasts forever. The Bible is full of challenges for the people of God, such as: various captivities in foreign lands, natural disasters like famines and droughts, wars, persecutions, etc. Some of the most noteworthy Bible characters (like Joseph, Esther, Job, Moses, and David) faced significant obstacles, and their story is how God helped them find victory on the other side.

For example, consider Daniel 1. In Daniel 1, we find the children of Judah taken into captivity in Babylon at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. While there, Daniel is personally challenged with regards to his commitment to let God rule his life (both physically, with his diet, and mentally, with his education). It's wonderful to celebrate the victories that God gave him in those trials, but there's a verse at the end of Daniel 1 that is easy to overlook: "Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus (Dan. 1:21)." The prophet drops a pretty major spoiler right at the beginning of his book: Nebuchadnezzar will not last forever. Neither will Babylon.

As Christians who study Daniel's "sister book" in the New Testament - Revelation - we are also told quite clearly by the 3 Angels' Messages in Rev. 14 that all forms of modern "Babylon" will fall. Every evil and oppressive and painful system will fade away one day. So keep your chins up and press forward with your hearts "up" too, because the challenges that weigh you down are temporary. The only thing that we know lasts forever is going to take over once and for all really soon.

"And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever." (Daniel 2:44)

Pr. Michael Taylor

P.S. I'm excited to start a new sermon series with y'all this upcoming week! If you'd like to learn more about it, click this photo here:
If your email clips the newsletter before all of it appears, just click on See More at the bottom to see the entire newsletter.
2021 - AT LAST!!
  • My prayer for 2021 is that we can worship again in person all together in church and Jesus will become even more a priority in each of our lives!! - Tana Moon 
  • My prayer for 2021 is that the Covid crisis will end soon. - Abby Kniss
  • My prayer for 2021 is to have a closer walk with Jesus, healing for this land, and more of the Holy Spirit to enable us all to share the good news of Christ soon return! - Micole Dyson
  • My prayer. . . to guide me as a Mom . . . to be the example God would want me to be and give the guidance to Caleb that He leads me to give. Also, for my Heath. (Both of these are constant prayers for me) -Donelle O’Connor
  • My prayer for 2021: Deeper understanding of Gods plan for ways to share the transforming power of His love with the community. - Jan Steffen
  • My prayer for 2021 is that it is a year of HEALING for everyone; mental, emotional and physical. 2020 has taught some valuable lessons but it's also just been really HARD!! I think we all need 'therapy' in a sense, things and blessings that will just remind us how GOOD life is. A time of recovery is what I'm praying for! - Mandy Delacruz
The BIG NEWS is that


We are praying this will keep going until it is safe to meet without restrictions.

  • Sabbath School starts at 11:00 in the sanctuary. A roving mic will be available for comments. If you are watching from home, you can participate with comments and questions through Zoom.
  • We will have Sabbath School this week for older kids. If younger children are coming, we will set up additional classes with social distancing, as needed in the following weeks.
  • Church begins at 11:00.
  • These precautions will be used for safety:
  • FACE COVERINGS TO BE WORN INSIDE AND OUTSIDE AT ALL TIMES. (One exception - the speaker may remove his/her mask while speaking from the front.)
  • Song leaders will wear masks while leading Praise Time.
  • Social distancing will be required in the sanctuary. Additional spaces (Fireside Room, Lower Level) will be available, if needed.
  • Rows will be dismissed by an usher at the end of the service. Please exit the building and do any visiting outside.
  • Special CDC precautions will be observed for weekly cleanings.
  • Wipes will be available for mics or equipment that may be touched by more than one person.
  • The services will be live streamed for those at home.

If you are wondering how these decisions are made, here is the process:
  • A 7 member Reopening Committee (Pastor Taylor, Joe Sarcona, Lorena Newkirk, Geetha Salvadas, Barb Carpenter, Janelle Randall, Jan Bermingham) was established by the Church Board. This committee meets and considers:
  • Current data in the state and local counties for numbers of new cases, positivity rates, hospitalizations and deaths.
  • The state and local government guidelines/recommendations for meeting (For instance, the state has said that indoor activities such as bowling can happen now if masks are worn.)
  • The current health of members
  • The Reopening Committee makes recommendations to the Board, who discuss and vote on those recommendations.
  • All decisions are subject to change as data and recommendations change. We sincerely pray that the current trend in Michigan continues and allows us to keep meeting in person.
  • As a church, Seventh-day Adventists believe strongly in doing as much as possible to promote healthy living. During this Covid crisis, we have tried to keep the health of our families and communities at the forefront.

What a strange year this has been for worship. We met, as usual, through March 7, then church was online only until June 6, when we started meeting in the Memorial Garden behind the church. In mid-October, a small group came back inside until mid November, then finished the year with on line again. Through all of this, we have continued to worship together; we have praised God for His power and wisdom, we've kept track of each other and the prayer needs, we've sung and prayed and listened and learned and celebrated Communion and Christmas. We've done Community Services projects and prayer sessions with Kalamazoo Trinity and Battle Creek Berean churches. We've communicated with our parishes, held Board meetings, Sabbath School, trivia games, baptisms and Bible studies through YouTube and Zoom. So we have a few thank yous to hand out:

  1. We thank James Hood and his crew for the professional way services have been put together each week. When we have been live, we've been able to include those worshiping from home as participants. He's made it possible for the music to sound wonderful and lift our spirits and our praises. We thank God for the talents He entrusted to James.
  2. Thanks to Pastor Taylor, the Seminary pastors, and to all who have organized, arranged and participated in the services and taught Sabbath School. We've seen a lot of faces and we've been reminded of how good it will be to get all of us together in person someday (soon, we hope).
  3. Thanks to those who have continued to arrange for services to benefit the community (Feeding America, Adopt-a-Family, CROP Walk, and several other Community Services projects).
  4. Thank you for tuning in, for reading the newsletter and submitting thoughts, for praying and saying yes when asked to do something.
JANUARY 6-16, 2020
How can you get involved in 10 DAYS OF PRAYER: SEEKING REVIVAL?
Make a decision to get involved. Determine how you are going to participate:
  • Gather your family OR
  • Pick a prayer partner and meet on the phone each day OR
  • Join Jan Bermingham and Pastor Shawna Henry at 6:00 - 6:15 a.m. each morning for a phone prayer. (Let one of them know you are interested so you can get the access information.)

Access the 10 Days of Prayer website https://tendaysofprayer.org/ and read the devotional on your own. Each day has a theme and a list of possible prayer items. If you sign up online, you will receive you each day’s materials via email, so you won’t even have to look up the website each day. It is a good reminder each morning.

Pray together. You may want to use the ACTS prayer format (Adoration/Praise to God, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. You may want to include prayer requests from the website.
Here is a list of the ten themes:
1.    Day 1: Jesus’ Most Precious Gift
2.    Day 2: Grasping the Gift
3.    Day 3: Surrender is the Key
4.    Day 4: Putting Revival into Practice
5.    Day 5: Spiritual or Carnal: What’s the Difference
6.    Day 6: God’s Solution to Our Struggle
7.    Day 7: Praying God’s Promises
8.    Day 8: Obedience Through Jesus
9.    Day 9: Do I Work for God – Or Does He Work Through Me?
10. Day 10: Seeking Revival Together
Our own Pastor Shawna Henry has developed materials to use with children, involving them in The Ten Days of Prayer. These easy and brief experiences include tangible ways to make the content memorable and meaningful.

Pastor Shawna also developed materials to with children use during the days leading up to Christmas (it was part of an online Children's Week of Prayer). Of course, they would be appropriate any time during the year.

The holidays provided some special outreach opportunities (Adopt-a-Family for Christmas, the Bethany Christian Services Drive-In Christmas party, and traffic patrol from John Steffen and Chuck Randall for the Community Thanksgiving Dinner pickup). 2020 also allowed for several Feeding America mobile food pantry days during a time when more and more people are needing food.

Other targets for PPAC Community Services include local food ministries like Eleanor’s Pantry, Decatur Human Services and The Porch with United Christian Services (UCS). 

PPAC contributes over $500.00 to UCS monthly, as the strain to keep up with the housing and warmth deficits in the county increase. These efforts are for people, including serniors, homeless veterans and single moms, who are currently ineligible for the usual emergency funds from the government agencies.  With the uncertainty of state and federal crisis funding, the tsunami of need is rolling in even beyond expectations.

If you have a heart for the needs at this time, please direct financial contributions to Community Services or Member Care. If you would like to become involved as a volunteer, contact Jan Steffen or Donelle O'Connor for ideas. Perhaps this is the time where we learn that we were born to serve, indeed.

All nine parishes in our church pitched in to make Christmas special for 20 local families.

A note from one mom whose gifts came from the Razzmatazz Parish probably expresses the feelings of several families, "From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much! You have no idea the burden that has been lifted off of my shoulders because of the generosity and kindness of people like you!  Merry Christmas and God Bless you!”  

Four of the 20 families picked up their Christmas at the church and the other families appreciated deliveries.
Bill Walsh, Jan & John Steffen's son-in-law, used his employee discount at Meijer to purchase a whole list of items for the Blue Parish and two additional families that had not been officially "adopted".

As always, it is a blessing to be a blessing. Thank you, PPAC Parishes!

Canary parish gifts for one of their families - winter clothes, toys, craft supplies, toiletries and new pots and pans were delivered along with a prepared Christmas dinner. Photo by John Khillah
Navy Blue Parishioners praying for their families after doing the gift wrapping.
Navy Blue Parish gifts being delivered. One of the moms said it was so much more than they had even hoped.
Delivery complete with Christmas carolers. Photos by Lorena Newkirk
Blue Parish gifts starting to pile up on the first of 3 tables of gifts for two families. Vicky and Jim Merrills did the deliveries and were privileged to pray with both families. Photo by Jan Steffen.
Mona Sarcona said the gifts for the Sage Parish families filled her SUV completely.
Each April, the Michigan Conference of SDA Women's Ministry Department sponsors weekend retreats for women at Camp AuSable. Last year, they were canceled, but the plan this year is to do them virtually. Ruth Ann Thompson is scheduled to be the speaker; her story is inspiring and will touch each who attend. Learn more about her at the Ruth Ann Thompson website. Watch for further details, but plan to attend. Here is the early information regarding the 2021 Women's Ministry Retreat.
Cornerstone (capital / building projects) received $9,608 in November. That brings our total for the "More than Bricks" campaign to $356,313 after 22 months. Even though we have only used the inside of our building for a small faction of the past year, we're amazed at your continued support as we've still raised over $100,000 in 2020!

Drive Through Party
Staged at PPAC
Bethany Christian Services extends their thank you in advance for Operation Good Cheer. This usually massive Christmas party, featuring Christmas gifts for foster children each year has a different look in 2020. To keep everyone safe, a Drive-Through Event will be happening December 8 from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Over 1000 gifts were shared with the foster children in this area.

According to Jan Steffen, who is working on the event with Bethany Christian Services, the leaders are very grateful for the space at PPAC to prepare and distribute the gifts.
To begin the New Year (2021), the Sabbath morning Bible studies will turn to the prophecies of Isaiah. Isaiah is probably the best known of the Old Testament prophecies because of its themes on salvation and the Messiah—some even call it the “fifth gospel.” Like Daniel and Revelation (which are especially popular studies among Seventh-day Adventists), the backdrop of Isaiah’s “calling” is the God’s holy temple.
During Isaiah’s early ministry, the northern kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians, a divine judgment for their idolatry. Through the remainder of his ministry, Isaiah continued to warn the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the southern kingdom of Judah of her impending doom (about 135 years after his ministry). God’s judgments also fall on the heathen nations, which is a precursor of the end time worldwide judgment.

Due to her pride, rebellion, evil deeds and continual reliance on heathen nations around her, Israel failed to become God’s “servant” and carry out the mission of world redemption, which was part of her covenant relationship with the Lord God. Thus, Isaiah announces that God will achieve His ends by sending His own “Servant,” the Messiah (Luke 4:18, 19). As a result, the remnant faithful in Israel will see the glory of God’s promises fulfilled.

Isaiah’s warnings and messages of hope are as pertinent to God’s people today as when they were given to ancient Israel. It will be our desire to hear the Word of the Lord, take it to heart, and be the last day “servants” of truth and hope that He has called us to be.

Join Jim Merrills, who wrote this article, as he leads the discussion of Isaiah each Sabbath at 10 - at church or by Zoom from home.
It was so exciting to watch the baptisms of Talia Weststrate and Matthew Mueller, which were originally done on Tuesday, December 22 and rebroadcasted during the December 26 service. Talia is an 8th grade student with a love for Jesus and Matt, who has long been committed to God,was deployed to his post right after Christmas. Keep him in your prayers while he is away.
  • I was baptized in early 1965 by my father Elder Herman Guy in Puno, Peru. At that time he was the president of the Lake Titicaca Mission. La Iglesia Adventista in Puno was an Adobe brick building with a red clay tile roof, an ancient pump organ and bench pews. This simple old building was appointed with a painted metal tank for a baptistery.  For those acquainted with early Peruvian Adventism pioneering missionaries Fernando and Anna Stahl had worshiped in this charming courtyard based sanctuary. Jan Steffen
  • I was baptized in the Paw Paw Adventist Church and the day of my baptism also marked the beginning of my love for Candy. Chris Kniss
  • I was baptized in May of 2006 at Paw Paw Adventist Church with my sister. We were baptized by Pastor Ron Fleck. Abby Kniss
  • I was baptized in the Paw Paw church but as a member of the Gobles church (Gobles did not have a baptismal tank yet). Donelle O’Connor
  • I was baptized by my grandfather, N.R. Dower, then the Ministerial Secretary at the General Conference. We did it at PMC, and I was an early teen, maybe 13 or 14. He gave me the verse Phillipians 4:8 as my verse to remember. Mona Sarcona
  • I remember chopping a hole in the ice while I was a pastor in Wisconsin to do a very special baptism. David Scofield
  • I was baptized when I was 12 years old by Pastor Duane Miller, who later was the pastor at PPAC when we moved to Paw Paw. Chuck Randall
We all knew that someday, someone would move Troy out of his bachelor status - and the former Amy Jacobs was just the one to make that happen. Amy is the youngest of three children and has five college-age nieces and nephews. Her dad was the Adventist Book Center manager in Indiana and her mom is a nurse. After Indiana SDA education K-12, Amy completed her BSN at Southern. For 12 years, she worked in an ICU setting and spent three years as a travel nurse around the country. This past spring she completed her MSN and is currently looking for a job in the Kalamazoo area.

Troy’s extraordinary musical abilities have been blessing PPAC in recent years. He’s a Michigander, having grown up at Great Lakes Adventist Academy where his parents have worked since before he was born. Troy graduated from Andrews before going to Loma Linda Dental School and currently works as a dentist with Paw Paw Family Dentistry.
A couple of matchmakers are responsible for the couple meeting. Amy’s mom and Troy’s only brother (he followed the family tradition and works at Indiana Academy) are both members of the Cicero, IN church. After a couple of Amy’s friends met Troy, they engineered an Amy-come-home and Troy-come-see-your-brother visit on the same weekend, where the couple met at Sabbath School. Texts and phone calls allowed the long-distance relationship between Michigan and Florida to grow. Amy moved to the area last summer, Troy popped the all-important question on the beach and they were married on November 2.
Church is important to both Amy and Troy and we are putting their membership here in permanent ink (the Nominating Committee will be interested in the next two paragraphs). Not only was Amy involved in a church plant in Florida, she also enjoyed singing with praise teams, served as worship coordinator and a church elder, and has been on over 15 mission trips. Although she also plays piano, she is quick to add that she can’t play by ear like Troy. Her favorite verse is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 - "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Amy says, “I might not always feel happy, but I can always rejoice and find things to be thankful for. This verse reminds me to make prayer not just a morning/evening/meals thing, but to have a continuous conversation with God throughout the day. That’s how I can pray without ceasing.”
In addition to his amazing piano skills, Troy has served as a deacon and has done mission trips to Peru, Bangladesh, Kenya, Puerto Rico, and Israel. He enjoys listening to Tim Keller and reading books by C.S. Lewis. Romans 8:38-39 is his favorite verse and his favorite book of the Bible is Ecclesiastes.
Troy and Amy share many interests and hobbies. They both love to travel, play golf, read, go to concerts, and play board games. Troy has introduced Amy to disc golf and she is his number one competitor. Playing and listening to wide varieties of music keep them busy. Troy enjoys cycling, basketball (okay, all sports), flight sims, and sudoku. Amy likes photography, spending time with friends (she’s settled for Covid-style FaceTiming for now), organizing, shopping for deals, making lists, and going to the beach.
We appreciate the Reichert family!
He came to reveal truth. The LeBrun Family
He came to free the captives. Allison Hurlow
He came to bring joy. Lynee & Karsyn Posthumus
He came to bring love. Jack & Hannah Boothby
He came to heal. The Gonzalez Family
He came to heal the brokenhearted. The McPherson Family
Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us. Caleb Dyson "O Come, O Come Emanuel"
He came to bring peace. The Weststrates
He came to save. Dylan, Dynae, Teagan, Nina, Talia
We are so glad He came! Rachel, Dave, Dan & Liz
By Chris Randall, Treasury Chair

Three months into our fiscal year we can begin to see trends, however, the month of December is often an anomaly (in a good way). so we are praying that December 2020 is an extra good month. Here are some items of note:
  • Tithe was $39,810 for the month and still 10.6% ahead of last fiscal year-to-date. Remember that 100% of Tithe is remitted directly to the Michigan Conference for the support of evangelists, pastors, Bible instructors, and administrative support for these functions throughout the Conference and worldwide.
  • Income / Giving to the Local Church Budget was $15,012 for the month. This is 3.1% short of our $15,483 monthly goal, 7.3% behind our YTD goal, and 20.6% behind the previous YTD.
  • Cornerstone (capital / building projects) received $9,608 in November. That brings our total for the "More than Bricks" campaign to $356,313 after 22 months.
  • Our reserves are healthy and earning interest in the Revolving Fund at the Lake Union Conference. Cash on hand, general operating reserve, and capital replacement reserves ensure that we can continue to function through short-term crises.
  • Online giving is encouraged. It is easiest for the treasurers, likely for you as well, and minimizes opportunities for errors. Visit www.PawPaw.Church and click on GIVE under the MEMBERS tab.
  • There are many online tutorials, but this is a good one (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0eGPsauuII).

We continue to see God's blessing and member stewardship during this unsettling time of COVID-19.
1-3. Cynthia Alexander, Robert Crux, Cindy Jones
1-4 Ivy Bodi
1-5. Nikola Gregor
1-7. Avery DeYoung
1-8. Shadi Khilah
1-9. Wendy Gonzalez, Shawna Henry
1-10 Juan Alvarez, Steve Beatty
1-12. Rachel Boothby
1-17 Doug Campbell, Hannah Walsh
1-18. Jacob Elanko
1-19. Nicolas Chaij
1-21 Isaiah Henry, Fernando Teixeira
1-22. Joyce Alburtus, Richard Dideriksen
1-24. Reuben Salgado
1-26. Jenny Piorkowski
1-27 Roger Ruether, Noel Salgado
1-28. Karen Vettese, Olivia Zappia
January 2: Sabbath School, 10:00 and Church, 11:00
January 6: Fab 50s (Zoom at 12:00)
January 9: Sabbath School, 10:00 and Church, 11:00
January 16: Sabbath School, 10:00 and Church, 11:00
January 18: Finance Committee - 6:30, Board - 7:00, Zoom
January 23: Sabbath School,10:00 and Church,11:00
January 30: Sabbath School, 10:00 and Church 11:00

  • Matt Mueller, on deployment as an engineer with the US Army and James Driskel, on deployment with the US Navy.
  • Frank Erion, recovering from heart attack and bypass surgery in Florida
  • Ardith Owen, Health Challenges (currently in a rehab center), 36154 Valley Drive, Paw Paw, MI 49079
  • Sharon Lamb, recovering from cancer surgery, family members who are ill. 35539 Whiskey Run Road, Mattawan, MI 49071
  • Nancy Boothby - Health challenges, 3060 9th St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009
  • Randy Jones, recovering from foot surgery, 15442 Flowerfield Rd. Three Rivers, Michigan 49093
  • Ken Randall - additional medical procedure scheduled for January 4.
  • The Driskel family, Health Challenges, 11031 M-60 Hwy, Three Rivers, MI 49093-8386.
  • Sharon Crux, Health Challenges, 71165 Copper Blvd, Lawton, MI 49065.
  • Helen Perry, Health Challenges. 1392 Woodlure Dr, Kalamazoo, MI, 49009
  • Amy Hill - Health Challenges.
  • Anita Ashton - Send a card! 6600 Constitution Blvd, Unit 8, Portage, MI, 49024
  • David Scofield - Health Challenges, 10640 Paw Paw Lake Dr, Paw Paw, MI 49079
  • Our leaders and decision makers, those working to find effective treatments and vaccines, medical professionals, business owners, those who are temporarily unemployed (or longer), those who are ill, those with mental health and relationship issues, and those with new grief.
  • PPAC and other churches, Andrews University, our academies, church schools and all schools
Don't miss anything that might be going on - even if you aren't there, you can be there! 

  • To receive text messages with church news and updates, including reminders for events and changes, send a text to 81010 with the message @ppacnews to sign up.

  • After you have signed up for text messages, you can text 81010 with the message @ppacprayer to be part of the Prayer Chain.

  • Ask the pastor to include you in his weekly Friday emails, which will include information about Sabbath services and activities, including the bulletin