Celebrating 50 Years

R. Dale Edwards
Sherrie and Dale began their ministry during their time at Northwest Bible College while traveling for the school. After leaving Northwest, they took their first pastorate in the metropolitan community of Butte Falls, Oregon. The Church was closed at the time and as N. D. Davidson told them, “You can’t hurt it - give it a shot!” God blessed and for over a year and a half the church grew to about 70. Their son Jon joined them and they became a team of three. Amazing people believed in their green pastors and helped them grow as ministers.

In 1972 they were invited to go to Noti, Oregon. This was where their daughter Tricia would join them making them a team of four. Her birth was also part of church growth. Again, precious people invested in their ministry to help them become pastors.

In 1974, during the charismatic outpouring, they were given the invitation to pastor Bethel Church in Pendleton, Oregon. The outpouring came to Pendleton as well and this is where their ministry found its stride. The church outgrew its facilities so they relocated and built a new facility. While there the Edwards were invited to pastor the Charismatic Catholic congregation in the basement of St. Mary’s Catholic Church while they continued pastoring Bethel. This was a very busy time, and they were again amazed that these precious people would catch a vision and follow a young pastor.

In 1979 they were given the invitation to pastor Sandy Assembly in Sandy, Oregon. This is the church that their kids would call home. For the next 10 years God blessed and gave them favor with the community and the church. They watched as the Lord helped them grow the church and they saw amazing growth and full attendance each Sunday in both the English and Spanish congregations. Again, amazing people captured a vision.

In 1989 they were given an invitation to pastor Salem Christian Center in Salem, Oregon. This was probably the most challenging assignment they would encounter. As Earl Book would say, “But God.” It was truly an amazing time as the Lord helped steady a church and watch it grow. God showed up on so many occasions. As they began their time at Christian Center, Dr. O. Cope Budge asked them if they could begin Salem Bible College, the institution that is now Northwest University, Salem. It was a God moment and the rest is history. Dale’s one regret was not to have recorded all the miracles they watched seeing God’s hand on the Church during those years. Some of the mightiest saints on earth were part of that Church and once again, they captured a vision. But God!

In 1995 they received an invitation to pastor Evergreen Christian Center in Olympia, Washington. They felt honored to follow some true heroes of the faith, Pastor and Mrs. Ron Hastie. Once again, they watched God’s spirit move in amazing ways and outpourings. They loved this precious congregation and are thrilled to see it is still influencing the community and region.

In 1999 they received an invitation in Lodi, California. For 11 years they pastored Century Assembly. Throughout their ministry God had given them favor with communities, resulting in ministries that have impacted the city and that happened again in Lodi. They developed Samaritans ministry, they adopted an area comprising three square city blocks and cleaned, painted, remodeled, and improved the living condition for those living there. They developed a Food Resource Center where they provided about 80% of the food for over 500 families per month. God was faithful!

In 2010 they decided it was time to retire. But God! They moved back home to Oregon having spent 14 years on foreign soil in the Northwest and Northern Cal districts. One word about retirement: BORING!

In the fall of 2011, they were asked to be the interim pastors in Florence, Oregon at Cross Road Assembly. They had no inclination of pastoring the church. However, in January of 2012 after much prayer they were invited to become the pastors and have enjoyed watching God do what God can do: love and grow people and His church. “We are blessed with some amazing people and staff. God’s up to something. The fishing isn’t bad either.”

Dale has served on the Presbytery of Oregon, Northwest and Northern Cal Network Presbyteries totaling 17 years. He’s served as Finance Chair in Oregon for 10 years and served on General Council finance committee for two years. They have helped plant 23 churches in 16 countries and daughter or assisted 11 churches in the cities they were honored to pastor.

“Our greatest ministry though has been to our two amazing kids, four of the most handsome, beautiful, intelligent and awesome grandkids, and two great-grandkids. 50 years isn’t such a big deal, we just got up every morning and went to work, still are. As Pastor Book reminded us, BUT GOD!”
William R. Johnston
William “Bill” R. Johnston was born in Wray, Colorado on August 7, 1943. Bill and Sharon Hoskins were married on June 10, 1966. They have four children: Wil, Peter, April, and Joshua. They have ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. William attended an Assemblies of God church all his life and graduated from Northwest College in 1967. He then went on to graduate from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in 1981 with an MA degree.

Bill received his License to Preach from the Nebraska District in 1966. He Served with Youth With A Mission from 1966 to 1970, leading teams in Jamaica, Canada, Nicaragua, Trinidad, and Guyana. During that time he also began to serve as Associate Pastor in Hermiston, OR from 1969 to 1971.

From 1971 to 1975 he served as Senior Pastor in Warrenton, OR. At this time is they were appointed as foreign missionaries. They served in Ghana from 1976-1980, Liberia from 1980- 1990, Swaziland from 1990 to 2007, then Malawi from 2007 to 2015. After forty years, they retired, however they have returned three times to teach accelerated classes in Bible schools. During their time in Africa, they were able to visit 33 different countries and assist in evaluating and developing pastor training institutions in many of them.

Bill served as president of two BA-granting Bible Colleges as well as served on the board of six different ministerial training schools during their time in Africa. He served on the national executive committee of the Assemblies of God in Ghana, Liberia, Swaziland, and Malawi. Bill and Sharon also pioneered an International Church in Swaziland and Bill served as Senior Pastor for 15 years.

After returning to the States Bill wrote a book sharing many of God’s miracles from their time in Africa, entitled “The Motorcycle That Flies.” which was published in June of 2021. The Johnstons are also involved with the church body at Portland Christian Center.
Garry D. Siegenthaler
Garry Siegenthaler was born in Huron, South Dakota on January 23, 1941. He married Ruth Finley on June 1, 1963 in Salem, Oregon at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. They have two children, Robbin and Angie, two granddaughters, Paige and Madison, and two sons-in-laws, Darrin and Sim.

Garry grew up in Salem in the Lutheran Church until he married Ruth. He was filled with the Holy Spirit at Camp Meeting in Brooks in 1962 and that night he felt called into ministry. Garry was Ordained in the Northwest District in 1972. His pastoral ministry includes youth pastoring at Brooks Assembly of God for six years, then going on to his first pastorate at Abernathy Assembly of God in Longview, Washington in 1969. After four years the Siegenthaler’s transitioned to Columbia Heights Assemblies of God in Longview, Washington (1973). In 1978 they moved to Oregon and pastored at Coquille 1st Assembly of God (1978-1984), New Life Center, Albany, now called Neighborhood Church (1984-2000), Rainier Assembly of God (2000-2008), and Albany Plainview Mennonite (2008-2010). Since 2010 the Siegenthalers have continued to minister as a pastor at large, speaking at churches, doing Servant Heart Ministry, officiating many funerals and weddings, and holding an online presence doing Facebook live sermons every week.

Over the course of their pastoral ministry they were also involved in other ministries including two radio programs, “Choice and Life Teach”, while they were in Albany. They held several Revival Meetings in Washington and Oregon. Garry oversaw the “Pastor’s Cell Group” for the Lower Colombia section. The Siegenthalers helped build the new building for New Life Center (Neighborhood Church) in Albany; it took 7 years and lots of hard work but it was good.

Family is so important to the Siegenthalers. They have been blessed to be at churches close to family where they could see them often. Ministry over the years has also provided opportunities for Garry to travel to Israel, Italy, Haiti, and England to preach and teach. For their 25th anniversary, New Life Center sent Garry and Ruth to Hawaii.
Edwin Smelser
Edwin J. Smelser was born May 9,1945 in Gillette, Wyoming. He married Bonnie Bandt on August 26, 1966 in West Seattle, Washington. They have one daughter, Jill, born September 19, 1970 in Enterprise, Oregon and now have two grandchildren, Summer Elizabeth and Sailor Olivia, ages 9 and 12.

Edwin received his credentials in Oregon being licensed in 1969 and ordained in 1971. During that time, they pastored at Enterprise Assemblies of God from 1968-1970. From there they were called to Salem, Oregon at Westgate Assemblies of God from 1970-1985. They then transitioned to Lead pastor at Pleasant Valley Evangelical from 1985-1995 in Niles, Ohio.

During their years of ministry they were also involved in many areas of service, including being the Chaplain at the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel from 1995 -2005, and serving as the National Representative for Bridges for Peace Intl., Jerusalem from 2005 to the present.

Edwin and Bonnie lived in Jerusalem for over four years, from August 1987 through January 1992, and have visited Israel 56 times; for 28 of those visits they led or hosted tours.
Jerry D. Snyder
Jerry and Yvonne met at NW College where Yvonne had come to teach in the music department and Jerry was finishing his senior year. They have two children, Wes and Jayna, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Ministerial credentials were given in the Oregon District and Ordination was granted in the Southern Idaho District. Jerry and Yvonne served as Associate Pastors in: Grants Pass, OR; Everett, WA; and Salem, OR. They have served as Senior Pastors in: Caldwell, ID; Park Rose, OR; and Dallas, OR. Yvonne faithfully served in the music ministry in each of these churches.

Jerry served as Vice President of Ministry Development of Church Extension Plan for 20 years in his last years of active ministry. During those years he had the privilege of assisting over 550 Assembly of God congregations with financing for church facilities. Many of these churches were in the Oregon Network.

In his early years of ministry, Jerry was involved in the construction of Butte Falls and Camp Davidson camping facilities, and he also served as Camp Director for both Boys and Girls and Youth Camps. Over the years Jerry has served on various committees in the Oregon Network.

“We will always be deeply grateful for the districts leaders and pastors who mentored and encouraged us in our ministry call. We have been blessed to serve.” - Jerry and Yvonne Snyder
Larry D. Steller
Larry was born on March 16, 1946 in Tacoma, Washington. He grew up in Southern Idaho and Portland, Oregon. Larry met Delores, the love of his life, at the church his father was pastoring, Northeast Assembly of God, which is now the Neighborhood Church in Tualatin. Larry and Delores have three children, their children’s’ awesome spouses, seven grandchildren, and five grand-puppies.

Larry knew even as a child that God was calling him to a lifetime of ministry. Larry interrupted his college education to tour the United States and Europe with Continental Singers, then went on to sing with a contemporary Christian group called the Spurrlows. Chrysler Corporation paid the Spurrlows to perform at high school assemblies during the day, then they would invite the students to a local church that evening where they would share the gospel. Larry witnessed many come to the Lord and believes this “musical experience” helped in many ways to prepare him for pastoral ministry.

Larry returned home and received a license to preach with the Oregon District Assemblies of God, and then worked for his father as youth pastor for five years. He was then invited to become the pastor of Bute Falls Assembly of God. Larry persuaded the city council to let them open the somewhat-dilapidated community center for youth activities on Friday nights after the football games. There were some nights that Larry and Delores had more youth come to the center than were at the school dance. Larry was ordained while pastoring in Butte Falls.

Larry and Delores were then invited to step back into the youth pastor and music director roles at Ashland Christian Center. They stayed in Ashland through three Lead pastors.

They were then invited to be the pastors of the Sheridan Assembly of God. While they were in Sheridan, Larry directed a community choir which he was able to build through rallying most of the churches in town. That turned out to be a powerful “coming together” for the whole community. The community choir lasted several years after Larry and Delores moved on.

Calvary Church in Jacksonville, now known as Relevant Church, invited the Stellers to return to Southern Oregon. Under Larry’s leadership, the church did a couple of major remodel projects to accommodate a growing congregation. One of the highlights was the annual singing Christmas Tree that Larry directed. There were usually six performances with standing room only. This event came to be recognized as Calvary Church’s gift to the community.

While pastoring in Jacksonville, Larry also served as a presbyter for several years and served on the camp committee for the network.

Larry and Delores, with the blessing of Calvary Church, also became presenters for Assemblies of God Marriage Encounter where they brough wholeness and vitality to thousands of couples. During their thirty years with Marriage Encounter, they also held the distinction of being the International Clergy Couple for Marriage Encounter while serving on their board.

After seventeen years of ministry in Jacksonville, the Stellers were invited to pastor Mount Hood Christian Center in Gresham. One of the many highlights was that their son Brian joined the staff to minister alongside his dad, just as Larry had ministered alongside his own dad.

Early on, Larry remembers praying that the Lord would someday use him to minister to ministers. That opportunity came through several personal experiences, and Larry and Delores found themselves moving from Gresham to Washington state to join the staff of Dr. Jack Rozell and Ministry Resources International. This organization works under the auspices of Assemblies of God World Missions and gives loving counsel to Missionaries and pastors from all over the world. Larry and Delores spent twelve years at MRI before Pastor Bill and Pastor Boyd invited them to come back to Oregon to lead Pastoral Care for the Oregon Ministry Network; they have done so for the past 8 years. Currently, Larry continues to lead pastoral care from southern Oregon which allows him to minister alongside his son Brian at Relevant Church once again.
David C. Wakefield
David was born in Salem, OR when his parents, Glenn & Maxine, were pioneering the AG Church in Molalla, OR. As a PK, he grew up in various parsonages in Oregon, California, and South Dakota. Fran was born on a small farm in Maui, Hawaii into a Japanese Buddhist family. She was led to Christ as a young girl by missionary pastors from California: an ex-alcoholic vineyard worker and his wife who were gloriously called by Christ but without formal credentials or denominational backing. David and Fran have three sons and five grandchildren.

David and Fran got their Biblical training at Southern California College (1963-1970). They received their missions training under Wycliffe Bible Translators at the University of Washington and in the jungles of Chiapas, Mexico (1970-71). David was given his license to preach in 1970 by the AG (So. California District). The Oregon District counted his two years training with Wycliffe in lieu of pastoring and ordained him in 1972.

David and Fran felt called to reach largely-unevangelized tribal groups through Bible translation; they went to Papua New Guinea in 1972 and spent 20 years doing Bible translation and literacy there among the Miniafia tribe. Since then, they have done work with Wycliffe in Ghana, Cameroon, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, Philippines, Australia, China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Thailand.

They retired from Wycliffe in 2019 after 50 years of service and moved back to Oregon. In retirement, they continue to volunteer as consultants to field teams and administrators who serve tribal communities in Asia. Also, as they are still the only outsiders who speak the Miniafia language, David is an external consultant to the translators for the Miniafia Old Testament in Papua New Guinea.

David taught for four years as a Missionary in Residence/Assistant Professor at Southern California College. He has also taught courses at: Biola; University of North Dakota; and Global Missionary Training Institute (for the Hap Tong Presbyterian Church of S. Korea).

David served in Papua New Guinea as Director’s Assistant for Technical Studies and Senior Anthropology Consultant and Coordinator. At Wycliffe’s International Linguistics Center (Dallas, TX), he directed Wycliffe’s International Anthropology Department, and later directed Asia’s Anthropology Department. He held this post until his retirement.

God allowed them to witness a massive response to the publication of the New Testament in Miniafia. They printed 1000 copies to distribute in a tribe of about 4000 people. Though no one had yet seen it, the New Testament was virtually sold out by the time they had the dedication service in February 2010! Transformed by God’s Word in their language, the villagers almost immediately begged for translation of the Old Testament, a work that is now in process and in which the Wakefields are happy to be involved.

They have enjoyed God’s provision for all their needs and especially His miraculous protection as they travelled by canoe and boat on the North Coast of Papua New Guinea for 20 years. On the occasions the canoe on which David was travelling sank in stormy seas, but (aside from coral scrapes) he and his fellow travelers were always unhurt.

In later years they had to avoid pirates. On one occasion their boat was followed into the port at Lae, PNG by pirates. They intended to kill David and his friend as they slept that night and ransack the boat for valuables. But God led David to invite them to dinner. As a result, they decided to protect him from harm from others instead.

“Got a minute? We can’t stop telling God’s story as it has shaped our lives!”