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Photo by Rich DuBose

Fiddletown Faith

Everyone has a story, and each one is different. From birth onward we individually encounter a mix of people, circumstances and challenges that make our stories unique.

Fiddletown is a small California foothill community that was supposedly settled by a group of pioneers from Missouri in 1849. Undoubtedly it was gold fever that brought them there.

While finding gold was not their motive for coming to Fiddletown, Steve and Cyndee Holm have struck it with their community Bible study group. In fact, Steve has discovered there are no limits with God when we give Him free reign.

Watch the video interview Steve Holm

Interview with Steve Holm

Interview – I recently met a special couple who live in Fiddletown, CA, a little community tucked away in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California. I wanted to learn more about Steve Holm and the weekly community Bible study that he and his wife Cyndee host in their home. –Editor (Rich DuBose)

Editor – Steve, you live in the little community of Fiddletown, CA. Most people have probably never heard of it, but since you’ve lived there God has brought you into contact with a group of wonderful people (the Cowboy Church Bible study group). A number of years ago you would not be participating in something like this. How did God bring you to this point?

Holm – I wonder if it is that God found me or if perhaps it was more that I finally found God. I was brought up in a loving environment with all the usual idiosyncrasies that one would expect to see within any group of people who live together for an extended period of time. I went to church every week, attended regular catechism classes and partook in all the sacraments at the appropriate times in my life.

However, looking back I never really felt connected. I believe the first time I actually met Jesus was the night I first walked into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and peered into the eyes of once hopeless people, like me, now filled and brimming over with the joy of new life. For the first time, I was presented with the possibility and a picture of a loving caring God who would stand by me always and just love me into His arms. I have been walking towards Him ever since this first introduction.

Editor – Once you began to discover God’s love, how did your life change?

Holm – For way too many years I relied heavily on my abilities to get through whatever life threw in my path. I would regularly begin each day awaking to a keenly distorted awareness that what I did that day would somehow determine the direction of my happiness and success in my life. The stamp of my value was mine to determine. My motivators were fear-based and my interactions with people were too often on an “arms length” or business level, mostly waiting and looking for what they might be able to do for me.

When I met Jesus and asked Him into my life this all started to change. Although not a process that happened over night, I found myself more and more being able to surrender my “power” over to His will for me. The load I insisted on carrying by myself became easier and easier to let go of and give over to my Maker.

Today, the mornings have become more and more something to celebrate than to dread and my relationships have become less self centered and more “other focused”. I no longer have a sense of being alone, but I feel the Lord working in every part of my life today. I’m always being lifted up and held in His care. I have been gently and lovingly placed onto a path that the Lord had prepared for me and have for the most part been able to stay moving in the right direction.

My heart and my eyes have been opened to the fantastic opportunities that are out there. There is so much work that still needs to be done, whether it be somewhere in the mission fields throughout the world or right here in our own backyards. Today, I enjoy the ability to share with others that which I have been freely given and I am becoming more and more able to reflect His perfect love in a manner that I know pleases the Father. Jesus has stamped my value into my heart.

Editor – So, how did you become a Seventh-day Adventist?

Holm – As a small child I was presented with a picture of a God that was powerful, vengeful and often condemning. I was uncomfortably aware that the best I could probably do was to be found a lesser sinner. I walked on eggshells even as a youngster afraid of God’s wrath and of the inevitable punishment He would levy upon me for my sinfulness. For years I felt it would need to be my works and behaviors that could possibly save me from His judgment. I seldom saw a picture of a loving Father who wanted so completely to have me at His side for all time.

As I grew older, I became interested in finding out more about how others saw their faith. I started to attend other Christian churches and found very small differences. However, the first time I went to a Jewish synagogue I saw something that was quite different and attractive. I noticed an almost devotional reliance upon the written word and long held traditions. This sparked a flame within me and a thirst to know more. It was shortly after that I had begun attending a small Bible based community church in the tiny town in which I now live. I was early on given my first Bible and inside the front cover was written” Feast on His word.” This is something I have been doing ever since.

As I turned each page, I could see taking form a different picture of God than I was accustomed to. I was able to understand more of what the Jewish children of God came to know about the character of the Father. Somewhere about this time it was suggested that we gather in homes to begin Bible studies. Today, we have a devoutly eager group of 12-14 of us, all from different religious walks. We have met faithfully now every Tuesday night for going on seven years. We enjoy supper, share in worship through music and dive deeply into the word, all of the word.

In our studies, we have been able to paint a picture of a purely loving God, one who loves us so much that He sent His Son down to save all of us. Where the Jewish faith stops we have been able to open up our hearts to an understanding of how much we are loved and that we are forgiven through His grace through His son Jesus, not by our works. It all was making so much sense to me.

It was during the early days of our group’s first year that I met a wonderful woman, Cyndee Johnston, who I am now joyously married to. She was a Sabbath keeper which was new for me. I started to attend Seventh-day Adventist services with her every Sabbath at her church in Auburn, California. The moment I entered into the church building I somehow knew I was home.

I found a church richly rooted in the Word and a church family who loved one another. They accepted me with wide open arms. I found a church that holds the Word up for what it is, the truth. And one willing to do the work that God has in store for each of us. Also this church was focused on the cross and Jesus. One year later I stood in the baptistery with Cyndee’s father Bruce Johnston on one side and Pastor Mike Speegle on the other. When I came up from the water I began a new life in Jesus. Alleluia!

Editor – What a great story. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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About Rich DuBose, Steve Holm and Rich DuBose

Rich DuBose

is director of Church Support Services for the Pacific Union Conference

Steve Holm

lives in Fiddletown, a small community in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California.

Rich DuBose

writes from Northern California

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