Saturday, November 26, 2022


She had a smile on her face as she opened the door. She also had splatters of flour on hands and apron.

"Come on in," she said. "I'm baking pies." And there was one on the counter: definitely apple. Small peels everywhere. I didn't know June Ochsner well. She was, like me, a Navy wife.

Both our husbands were out on extended patrols. We were living in Hawaii on Oahu far, far away from family. I was beyond lonely that day and so I had called. As I sat down and watched her roll out the next crust we chatted. Details elude me but I started to feel cared for. I also felt welcomed.

June was not in the slightest bit self conscious about the way her kitchen looked. Nor was I. She had put me at ease in some mysterious way and I found the awful aloneness of that day starting to lift.

The second pie was in and my stomach was rumbling a bit. Now I was not so lonely but more hungry. I had been cooking for just myself which was very boring and now I was sitting in some kind of baking dream. The second pie was out and cooling on the counter. I was now drinking coffee and getting more acquainted with June.

And, of course, when the pie had cooled enough, she sliced me an oversized piece which I gaily consumed.

It was the best piece of birthday pie/cake I ever had!


When I first met Patty Cardona, who is now, president of Project Lost Sheep, she and Pastor Orlando Cardona were starting a church in a small office in the poorest area of Redwood City near an elementary school. How our fledgling non-profit connected with them is another story, but on this day I am remembering how it was then. 

As you entered there was a desk with some papers on it. Inside was the church floor area for this moment with various things bags and boxes. The church was maybe 50 people at most and they met in this space

With children's area in the corner and upstairs was a tiny space. So, Orlando and Patty had arrived in Redwood City, not too long before with a call from God to start a church that would be a healing influence on the City. This was more than 25 years ago.

Patty had vision and her vision was large and owed a great deal to her prayers and family with her Dad. A pastor and church planter and her mother who was always praying. Patty recently told our team that she received the Lord when she was 9 years old, in Sunday school classroom.

The day that I am thinking about was just before Thanksgiving and she had been showing me around and we ended up at the front desk where I sat and listened. I knew that she had been doing some work inside the elementary school and knew the needs of that community. "We are getting ready to feed the entire school Thanksgiving Dinner at the school," she said, I was dumbfounded.

Extreme left: Pastor Orlando Cardona, 3rd from the left: Patty Cardona.

How could this happen? I thought. But, I was also aware that I was in the presence of a woman who had faith. And, what happened was like mountains moving! The people were fed and Verbo Church began to grow faith step by faith step.

This Thanksgiving Verbo Church is in a six thousand foot building. A warehouse that became a church community center. 400 people will sit down to eat together and receive Gods love and hospitality. Those who come from other countries can find a home in America in this place.