| BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS |THE SEDRO-WOOLLEY CONNECTIONbyElvin Huston(REVISED APRIL 2011) For
me, the Sedro-Woolley connection to the Alumni of the 60's reunions
goes back to 1956. I was 11 years old, and that was the year my
family moved back from the Ozarks of southern Missouri to my birth town
of Sedro-Woolley, Washington. Rev. W.V. Kononen was pastor of
Bethel Assembly of God church just down the block from our house on
Northern Avenue. It was the same humble little church across the
railroad tracks where my Father and Mother had accepted Christ some 17
1956, Danny Vandenburg, the current host of our Alumni Reunions, was
the 26 year old teacher of the Junior Boys Sunday School Class.
Danny didn't just teach a class at church, he adopted his
students. He invited them into his home, and took them hiking and
fishing. His faith had arms and legs, and humor and heart.
When I was no longer in his class Danny continued mentoring me.
He helped me learn to play the guitar; he urged me to join the
church orchestra; he encouraged me to sing my first solo in church; he
took me with him to jail services. When I was about to turn 16,
Danny agreed to give me his 1941 twilight turquoise Chevy in exchange
for 50 hours of labor helping to clear his property ... property which,
for the past eight summers now, has served as the exquisite setting for
bringing together my old college classmates and friends from the 60's.
and LaVonda Vandenburg never attended Northwest College, and until eight
years ago, they only knew a scattering of alumni from there. They
knew those who came up through Bethel Assembly, and went out to attend
Northwest, and they knew those who came to minister at Bethel from
Northwest. But, early in 2003, while on a trip through Southern
Oregon, Danny and LaVonda stopped to visit me. When they heard
about the reunions we were proposing, they invited us to bring our
celebration to their place. That spring, Ed Benintendi, Eunice Wheeler
and I made a trip to Vandenburg Campground to explore the possibilities.
We found it to be a perfect environment for our 60's Alumni
Reunions. It was an inviting place that filled the senses with the
influence of nature, and impacted us with the beauty, wisdom and
power of the Creator.
summer, for the past eight years
now, 75 to 120 Northwest Alumni from the 60's have converged
on this lovely place for a weekend of personal renewal and spiritual
refreshment. As we now look toward our 9th annual gathering of 60's
Alumni at Vandenburg Campground in 2011, I am amazed at the way God has
the tapestry of all of our lives together. As a young boy God
touched my life in a profound way through Danny & LaVonda
Vandenburg. As a result I dedicated myself to the Lord, and
eventually attended Northwest College. There the Lord touched my life
again by dozens of fellow classmates who shared my desire to serve God.
Now, some 40 plus years later He has caused our lives to all converge
again. For the Vandenburgs and me, it's as though we've come "full
circle". Danny & LaVonda are now reaping a special joy, having been
brought into the love and fellowship of you all. In a
marvelous way this all goes back to
their investment in one little boy's life. That little boy is now 66
years old, and his Sunday School teacher, Danny Vandenburg turned
81 in September 2010.