Nevada-Utah Views - February 2024

The Pahrump Community Dines with a Doc

By Keith P. Alexander

What would it be like to have the opportunity to sit down over a meal with your small-town doctor and discuss how you could substantially improve your health by just changing what you eat? Folks in Pahrump, Nevada, didn’t have to imagine it because on November 5, the Pahrump church sponsored “Dine with A Doc,” a four-night seminar promoting the philosophy of the whole food, plant-based diet.

Ted Hoehn presents the fallacies of diet misinformation.
Ted Hoehn presents the fallacies of diet misinformation.

Ted Hoehn, an emergency room physician, frequent lecturer, medical educator, and radio host on “Health Matters,” was the main speaker for the event. Guests were able to enjoy generous samples of various entrees and desserts, observe a live demonstration of how each meal was prepared, and then engage the speaker with real-time, relevant questions regarding their diets. Pastor Ryan Johnson and Galen Smith operated the audio/visual equipment, allowing Hoehn to use riveting and dynamic PowerPoint presentations, revealing that his purpose was to expose the false ideas about nutrition in general and about protein in particular. With 30 or more guests from the community in attendance, lively question-and-answer sessions took place throughout the seminar each night. Hoehn continued to emphasize one statement: “Eat lots more plants.” 

From left to right: Ann Dahl, Patty Hobson, Lee Harden, Gene Hobson, and Vickie Smith volunteer to help make Dining with a Doc a successful community event.
From left to right: Ann Dahl, Patty Hobson, Lee Harden, Gene Hobson, and Vickie Smith volunteer to help make Dining with a Doc a successful community event.

Vickie Smith, head deaconess, planned and coordinated the event. She, along with Lee Harden and Ann Dahl, personally prepared the food for each night, and Gene and Patty Hobson made sure every participant was served. As a bonus each night, one person in attendance received a vegan cookbook.  “I was asked by a church member to do a cooking school years ago, but I resisted since I had never done one before,” Vickie said. “And then, people in our town of Pahrump started asking for a plant-based cooking class. Putting this on was exhausting, but it was fun. Members had the opportunity to socialize and become better acquainted, and we met some amazing people in the community.” 

On the last night of the seminar, one guest commented, “I thought this seminar was amazing and would love more of them! I feel amazing! My husband is resisting so far.” Another said, “This has helped to lessen my migraine headaches and is helping to reverse my acid reflux.” One other guest stated, “I have already been eating largely plant-based, but this [seminar] helps validate my research on optimal health and nutrition.”

In keeping with the evangelism efforts of the church, on the last night of the seminar each guest was presented with a packet containing the books Steps to Christ and the condensed version of The Great Controversy. In this way our church was truly making God’s mission our mission!


Rainbows Amidst the Clouds

By Michelle Ward

Judy Barcelo, a member of the Susanville church in the Nevada-Utah Conference, has a great deal for which to thank and praise the Lord! She feels she was snatched from the hand of the enemy on several occasions in the last year!

It started in September 2022, when she underwent two major surgeries. As she was recovering, she had a major bleed and was returned to the surgical suite to stem the flow of blood. By the time she got there, however, she had lost so much blood that she’d become anemic, and a transfusion was required. That was rescue number one. 

About three weeks later, she experienced another spontaneous bleed and was transported to the emergency room in Reno (about an hour and a half away) by helicopter. About that time, a very strong, unanticipated wind came up, battering the aircraft so violently that the pilot announced that it was too dangerous to continue to Reno and he was aborting the flight. Fortunately, they arrived safely at the hospital from which they had started their trip, and the critical patient was forced to go by regular ground transport (ambulance) to her destination, arriving shortly before midnight. She spent the rest of that long, fearful night, her internal bleeding still uncontrolled, in an emergency room waiting for her surgeon. Finally, she was taken into surgery, repairing her bleed for a second time. Although exceedingly weak from her loss of blood, she had survived. That was rescue number two.

She was kept in the hospital to try to regulate her heart rate, breathing, and anemia. As her body struggled to recuperate from the trauma it had suffered, her weakened immune system succumbed to pneumonia. It was there, “in the valley of the shadow of death,” as she puts it, that she felt the Lord’s comforting presence most strongly. Friends and family members encouraged her with caring texts and comforting words until she was finally strong enough to go home. That was rescue number three.

When she finally felt strong enough, Barcelo went back to working on a devotional book for seniors that she had started writing during the pandemic. Unexpectedly, in the spring of that year, after a hard fought six-month battle to become stronger, she contracted covid, landing her back in the hospital. While there, she also caught pneumonia again!  This time she felt that her life would surely come to an end. However, after a week of semi-unconsciousness, she awakened well enough to be discharged from the hospital. That was rescue number four!

“How could a person not express praise and thanksgiving to God after being rescued from the enemy’s grasp so many times in a year!” she exclaimed. “When I emerged from these experiences, I was more determined than ever to finish the devotional book I was writing, which encourages folks in their golden years, like me, to study God’s Word daily. Amid the dark clouds that sometimes enshroud our lives, we can find inspiration and guidance, comfort and peace, in the wonderful rainbows of promise and hope found in His Word during our devotional time with Him!”

Despite all the enemy’s setbacks, her book was finally published in November of 2023. Her declaration is, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”


Truckee Church Gets a Facelift

By Catherine F. Kerr

Since its beginning in the 1970s, the Truckee, California, church, nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, has been a destination church for Adventists for a respite and renewal of the soul. Because it is a destination church, members are blessed to mingle with people from all over the world. 

Looking forward to some projects that would improve the outside area of the church, it was decided that a Prayer Walk would be purposeful. In 2019, after business meeting discussions and prayers over the area, a young church member, Kamilla Makhmutova, was asked to draw up a design for the Prayer Walk.

Ostap Dzyndra
Ostap Dzyndra

It wasn’t until 2023 that these plans came to fruition through the help of Build and Restore International. Ostap Dzyndra, the founder and CEO of Build and Restore International (, was enthusiastic that he could put together a group of student volunteers to do the project. The proposed project went far beyond the Prayer Walk and included washing windows, applying film to windows, painting, vacuuming, cleaning out sheds and loading two 40-yard dumpsters, and pruning trees—in addition to cutting a path for the prayer walk, putting in wood chips, and setting up the wood rounds for seats.

In preparation, the members readied rooms by moving furniture, taping trim, etc. Wood chips were delivered and dumpsters were ordered.

Members volunteered their time to get the preparation and support work done. Once the crew arrived, volunteers from the church prepared meals for the 40 volunteers. Housing was provided at a home in Truckee, the Riverview church, and Riverview Christian Academy for the student volunteers from Ambassador Learning Academy in Granite Bay, California. 

Immediately upon arrival, the students went to work cleaning sheds, loading the dumpsters, and reorganizing; then they moved on to cleaning the driveway and parking areas. At the same time, others were busy painting inside the church. Some deep cleaning took place, including oiling the pews.

The outdoor crew helped by trimming trees, trail building, clearing brush and weeds, and spreading the wood chips—a monumental task. 

The Sabbath morning worshipers were blessed to have Dzyndra deliver a deeply moving message, explaining how he and his father had come to America from the Ukraine when he was eight years old and how he learned English. He grew up attending the Adventist Church. Although he enjoyed worship, it was some very special experiences that drove him to give his heart to the Lord and be led into missionary service. 

Special thanks to Truckee church members Paula Korinek and Cherie Bryan, who devoted long hours to help make this happen, and to the Riverview church for the use of their facilities to house the young men.