Bryan WhiteSenior Pastor"The best roads of all are the ones that aren't certain." – Bruce Cockburn
Background: Although Bryan has lived in a variety of towns and cities throughout the Pacific Northwest, he feels God has brought him home to Eastern Washington through his call to Hillspring. Bryan holds a BA from Portland State University and a Masters of Divinity from Methodist Theological School in Ohio. In addition to his theological work at MTSO, he studied both Greek and Hebrew at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, OH. Bryan believes God has prepared him all his life to serve at Hillspring. He felt a strong, clear call from God to this ministry. His main passion in ministry is to help people grow as Disciples of Christ, through the Spiritual Disciplines such as prayer and Bible Study, but also by understanding that God has placed each of us in unique situations in the world to live our faith. Bryan is passionate about justice issues and community development, he is proud of the melding of those two areas in Hillspring Church’s After School Matters non profit as well as our unique Honduran ministry, m25. Bryan enjoys spending time with his family, loves being in the mountains, and playing guitar.
What I like most about the Hillspring Church Community: There are so many things I love about our community, but the most important is the actual community itself! I am so blessed to be a part of the Hillspring Church family!
Favorite Movie: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
AHA! Moment: During a debrief of a week long trip in a Honduran mountain village with a group of teen agers who were very sad about leaving their new friends, my good friend Justin Porter asked the group, “Do you really have to travel half way across the world and live in the mountains of Honduras to experience authentic community? Let’s find a way to replicate that experience of community and transformation back home where we speak the same language and share the same customs with the people around us!” That moment changed everything for our church.
Book I would recommend: It depends on the situation and the person! But one of the books I seem to recommend most often is The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen
Tami WhiteGraphics and Publications"Be thou comforted little dog, for thou too in resurrection shall have a little golden tail." – Martin Luther
Background: Tami White’s family likes to joke that she was converted by potluck. Growing up in Southwestern Washington in a non-churched family, it wasn’t until her mid-twenties when a friend invited her to a church lunch that she began to understand there was more to Jesus than she had previously understood. What she experienced was welcome, community and a family. Because of this, Tami has a heart for those who do not know God, and seeks to be a welcoming presence to the stranger. She has come to believe that following Jesus is the response to the deepest longings of the human heart, and that the Church still has a vital role in the transformation of lives. The call to serve Christ at Hillspring through her role in visual art and communications is one of the greatest blessings of her life. When not lovingly removing random objects from their backgrounds in Photoshop, Tami can be found hanging out with her husband and best friend Bryan, drawing, painting, reading, playing ukelele, daydreaming and taking ridiculous amounts of pictures of their three dogs, Theo, Lucy and Oliver.
What I like most about the Hillspring Church Community: I love that Hillspring Church is a community that genuinely cares about people—their stories, their journeys, their struggles, their successes—and isn’t afraid to get messy with them!
Favorite Movie: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, particularly The Fellowship of the Ring
AHA! Moment: When I began to understand that the “world” in John 3:16 meant not only me specifically, and humanity generally, but ALL of creation, which God brought into being and rescued from death when Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave. My world got a lot bigger in that moment.
Book I would recommend: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Michelle FickleWorship Leader“Since, then you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2
Background: I made the decision to follow Christ at the age of 16 and began singing shortly after. I’ve always said that I started singing when I had a real reason to sing! I have been serving in worship ministry in some form or fashion ever since then and am humbled by the opportunity He provided for me to lead worship here at Hillspring.
When I’m not singing, playing piano, or planning worship I can be found hanging out with amazing 5 and 6 year olds in my classroom where I work as a kindergarten teacher. I view my classroom as an amazing mission field and seek to live out my love for Christ through teaching my students and caring for them and their families.
Speaking of families, I have an amazing husband, Matt, who has been incredibly supportive of me through this journey and keeps me grounded. I also have three boys (Jonathan, Nathan, and Jadon) who have kept Matt and I busy attending band concerts, baseball games, track meets, journalism conferences, and mission trips among other things. Soon, all three of our boys will be in college so we are enjoying our kids before we become empty nesters… Yikes!
What I Like Most About the Hillspring Church Community: I love that Hillspring is focused on building God’s kingdom outside the walls of the church building and works to empower and equip individuals to answer the calls God places on their lives.
Favorite Movie: Big Hero 6 (That could be because the only time I've watched the movie I was SUPER tired so it seemed extremely funny!)
AHA! Moment: I always knew that music was a powerful way for me to relate to and hear from God but one day I was leading worship at an all-city worship event and watched a woman break down and cry as she worshipped along with me. It was at that moment that I realized that leading worship was a huge responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Book I Would Recommend: Love You Forever by Robert Munsch probably because it’s about a mother’s devotion to her son and how the roles switch as they both get older.
Grimelda SanchezCongregational Care / Visitation“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
Background: I am passionate about helping people in any way possible. I was born and raised in Mexico and as a teenager my parents immigrated to US seeking a better life. While attending CBC and working, I met the love of my life Moses who I married and have 3 wonderful energetic children with- Aaron, Eli and Milania.
I came in contact with Hillspring when Pastor Dale visited our Hispanic Church, The Salvation Army in downtown Pasco. God had been calling him to reach out to a Hispanic Church and he was led to us. After a year, I was offered a job that created blessings for me, my family, and my community! I have been working for the Hillspring Church close to a decade and I am proud of what I do and who I represent.
What I like most about the Hillspring Church Community: I have grown spiritually and intellectually being part of small groups, where I have built genuine relationships. This has also defined my goals and purposes in life. I admire the love this community has for the less fortunate and is always looking for ways to reach out.
Favorite Movie: The Wedding Planner
AHA! Moment: Moses and I were at the park during a church event and while we were holding hands and praying, I happened to look down and noticed a beautiful diamond wedding ring right at his toe. After weeks of trying to find the owner and didn’t, I decided to keep it. I realized then, that God doesn’t just love me but spoils me.
Book I would recommend: Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
Josh GuajardoAfter School Matters Program Director“Anybody can be great because anybody can serve… you only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Background: I was born and raised in the Tri-Cities with my parents and younger brother. I graduated high school from Tri-Cities Prep in 2013. Upon graduation, I attended Blue Mountain Community College where I played baseball and worked toward my degree. A year later, some obstacles and a change of heart led me back to the Tri-Cities to finish out my Business Administration degree in Finance at Columbia Basin College. Since my return, I was given a great opportunity to assist my good friend Lionell Singleton and serve in our After School Matters program. I am also helping out as a volunteer with our amazing Middle School Students. I couldn’t be more grateful for my journey and the way it has played out. I love to fish, play all sports, joke, pull pranks and play my guitars.
What I like most about the Hillspring Community: I love many things about the Hillspring community, but I especially love that no matter where you come from, age, race, or social status we all have one common goal and that is to love God and love each other! I get chills thinking about it!
Favorite Movie: The Sandlot
Aha Moment: My sophomore year of college my baseball career was cut short – not by choice. In the same couple weeks I got out of a very serious relationship, which consumed all of my love and effort. In the midst of that God made it clear to me that this life is much bigger than myself and that there are greater opportunities in store for me. It took time for me to realize this, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without those opportunities. You know what they say… Better late than never.
Book I would recommend: Jesus is___ By Judah Smith
Debbie TonerDirector of Community Development“Only God can turn a MESS into a message, a TEST into a testimony, a TRIAL into a triumph and a VICTIM into a victory!”
Background: I was involved in leadership at Hillspring for many years before accepting the call to a staff position about 3 years ago. I love working with others as God uncovers and encourages their potential. In the process of journeying with others I too am transformed.
Brad and I have been married since I was 20 and we have two grown sons. We are blessed to have their families and our grandchildren close.
I continue to take advantage of opportunities to grow into what God calls me to.
What I like most about the Hillspring Church Community: We like to have fun together; doing life, learning, serving and loving on others.
Favorite Movie: Movies about triumph in spite of challenge.
AHA! Moment: I am formed and informed by my brokenness. Because my history is part of my destiny God can use me to connect compassionately with others.
Book I would recommend: Anything by Henri Nouwen
Edsel WhitePastor“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13
Background: Retired United Methodist Pastor; Ordained 50 years ago. Senior Pastor for 40 years.
What I like most about the Hillspring Church Community: Has a strong Spiritual base and reaches out to meet the emerging needs of the community and world.
Favorite Movie: Schindler’s List
AHA! Moment: Learning from the past to prepare for the future.
Book I would recommend: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl or The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen
Lindsay JoshlinDirector of Children and Family Ministries“Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson
Background: I grew up on a farm outside of the Tri-Cities, and first joined Hillspring Church community at age three! This church has always been a second home for me. I went to college at Seattle Pacific University and earned my Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy with an emphasis in Special Education. I lived in San Diego for 6 months after college as a Music Therapy intern at Musicworx Inc. After being away for five years exploring rainy Seattle and sunny San Diego, I returned to Tri-Cities in 2014, joined the church staff and (through a few different matchmakers who each take credit) met my husband Nathan! We were married in August of 2015. Aside from music, I have a heart for people—especially children, so it is a joy for me to serve within the Children & Family ministry both through Sunday school and Sprouts Preschool. I’m continuing to find ways to pursue my passion for Music Therapy here at Hillspring and in the greater Tri-Cities area!
What I like most about the Hillspring Church Community: is that I call the place my home and the people my family!
Favorite Movie: The Switch
AHA! Moment: Cradling the warm body of a three-year-old little Honduran angel as she slept soundly in my arms, and recognizing in that moment the love that God has for His children-- young and old, regardless of skin color or status, failure or achievements, worldly possessions or lack there-of. He loves each one of us deeply, unconditionally; He calls us to do the same, to be an example of that Christ-like love always and to every person we meet, no matter what.
Book I would recommend: Love Does by Bob Goff
Gabriel DiazYouth Pastor“You can teach what you know, but you’ll reproduce what you are.” — Anonymous
Background: Gabriel was born and raised in beautiful Hawaii on the island of ‘Oahu, nicknamed, The Gathering Place. And, yes, he certainly does know how to surf. His first encounter with Christ was when he was 13 years-old at a youth camp on ‘Oahu’s majestic North Shore. His most vivid memory of that camp was seeing how people of very different backgrounds were together as one in the church, and he loved it. He graduated from New Hope Christian College in Honolulu, Hawaii with a bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Leadership, and he’s got a huge heart for youth and young adults ministry. Two of his greatest passions in youth and young adults ministry are meeting new people and seeing young people serve and lead. He’s married to his beautiful wife, Autumn, and has one daughter named Aviv.
What I like most about the Hillspring community: I love Hillspring’s appreciation for generational, denominational, racial and gender diversity. That was most important to me when I was looking for a place to raise my family.
Favorite Movie: 500 Days of Summer
AHA! Moment: A teacher once asked me what I wanted to do as a career for the rest of my life. As I told him my life’s vision to be a chef or a carpenter, he laughed at me with ridicule, saying I was too smart to do that. I wasn’t quite sure if I should have responded with insult or inspiration. A thought on career advice I loved hearing people repeat was to do what you love doing. I knew I loved serving God in the church, and the day I realized I could make a career out of serving Him, I had realized I had found something to do that I loved doing.
Book I would recommend: Divine Mentor by Wayne Cordeiro
Jeremy JohnsonFacilities and Grounds / Men's Ministry“Don’t just tell someone how to be saved, show yourself as an example of someone who is saved”
Background: With a desire to help and encourage people along their walk with Christ, Jeremy has been on staff at the Hillspring Church since 2012. Raised in the Tri Cities, and a graduate of Washington State University, Jeremy appreciates what our community has to offer. His favorite times always revolve around family. The Johnsons enjoy traveling to Hawaii, spending time at the family cabin in the Blue Mountains, Spring Break at the Oregon Coast and cheering on the Seahawks. Jeremy and his wife Jessica have three daughters, Samantha , Emily and Claire (and Jewell the cat.)
What I like most about the Hillspring Church Community: Acceptance
Favorite Movie: Caddyshack
AHA! Moment: While walking up over an embankment and seeing Kailua Beach for the first time. The beauty of God’s creation.
Book I would recommend: Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
Jean BlokAfter School Matters"In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset (attitude) as Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5 NIV
Background: I was born and raised on a farm in NW Iowa. I met, dated, fell in the love and married my husband Phil while there, and yes – he is a PK! (Preacher’s kid) We raised our family in a community of 11,000. We have 2 daughters and one son, 2 great sons-in-law and a wonderful daughter-in-law. Our oldest is Amy Knoup (member of the worship team) married to Aaron and they have 3 children: Chloe, Eden, & Everitt. Our next daughter Emily Lopez is married to Gabriel and they currently live in a tiny town in SW Iowa. They have a daughter named Lyla and a son who will make his appearance this summer. Our son, Timothy, is our youngest and recently married to Amanda. They also live in a tiny town in SW Iowa. For 14 years prior to moving to the Tri Cities in mid-summer of 2015 I was on the ministry staff of our former church. We believe God called us here through a job opportunity for Amy. So with 4 adults, 3 children, two dogs, one van and two moving trucks each pulling a car we traveled for 3 ½ days, site seeing along the way. We arrived with no job and no home. But God had His plans and has been revealing them to us in His time. It has been an amazing experience and growth in trust and patience.
What I like most about the Hillspring community: After experiencing worship at a few different churches in the TriCities, Hillspring felt like home. It felt like we shared the same views, theology and worship style. I so appreciate the calling of the Hillspring family out into the community and rejoice at the different ways people are doing this. It’s all about building relationships and sharing His love.
Favorite Movie: Wow that is hard. I love a good action movie, but really enjoy a great comedy as well. No favorite really.
AHA! Moment: After experiencing some great emotional trauma and working through some things I felt the Holy Spirit fill me and realized that God Loves Me! He loves me right where I am at and all I have been through. And He has a plan for me!!!!
Book I would recommend: I want to recommend something different. A historical fictional trilogy: Mark of the Lion by Francine Rivers. It will take you through some lives following the death of Jesus, the power and hate the Romans had for Christians and those that remained strong. You will also find that it is very relevant for today.
Justin PorterPastor“When your memories become more important than your dreams, you are in danger of dying…”
Background: Passionate about helping others discover and live out who God has created and called them to be, Justin has been serving here at Hillspring Church since 2009 as our Pastor of People Development. Originally from Southern California where he was born and raised, he and his family now call the Tri-Cities home! Justin earned his Bachelors degree in Kinesiology from Sonoma State University and attended both Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and Fuller Theological Seminary while working toward his Masters in Divinity. He is also a certified Life Plan Facilitator. Since graduation, Justin has been actively involved in both the fitness industry and vocational ministry helping others on their journey to become all that they were created to be. Justin is married to the breathtakingly amazing Janae and they have 3 incredible kids – Grace, Nathan and Ashlyn.
What I like most about the Hillspring Church Community: The people of course! I am so grateful to be a part of a community that strives to live out the Jesus Creed (Mark 12:29-31)!
Favorite Movie: The Count of Monte Cristo (2002 version)
AHA! Moment: When I held Janae’s hand walking on the boardwalk in Newport Beach, CA so many years ago. I knew at that moment as I do now that she was (and is) the one!
Book I would recommend: The Artisan Soul by Erwin McManus
Peggy ZumhofeOperations Manager“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
Background: Peggy has always been part of a nondenominational church so when she and her husband were searching for a place of worship, Hillspring Church was a perfect fit. Over the years, the family was involved in all areas of ministries. After witnessing her children being baptized and married at Hillspring, Peggy knew the decision to make Hillspring Church the family’s church home was one of the best decisions she ever made as a parent.
After becoming an empty nester, she wanted to use her experience as a paralegal and insurance agent to help others in the community. When the opportunity to volunteer in the church office arose, Peggy knew that was the perfect place to be. She joined the full-time staff in 2010 as Operations Manager. She now understands her career in business was leading to this true calling all along.
Peggy is married to Daryl and they have two adult children and two grandsons.
What I like most about the Hillspring Church Community: Lifelong friendships!
Favorite Movie: Gone with the Wind
AHA! Moment: When my oldest grandson said his prayers out loud for the first time and I realized this is what life is all about.
Book I would recommend: The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri J.M. Nouwen
Janelle MercadoLead Custodian“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” Psalm 23:1
Background: Raised in Tri-Cities by my parents/heroes Dick and Rosie Sanders. I have probably been a member of Hillspring Church since birth! Went to Guatemala with the senior class of Hillspring Church. This was truly an amazing opportunity and I will forever miss the children there! Graduated from Kamiakin high school in 2001. Later down the road I started working for Hillspring Church and knew I was home! Around the same time I met and married my true love, Jerry Mercado. We have two precious daughters Joan and Olivia. Currently I enjoy supporting my amazing husband and all he does to help youth through the Tri- City Elite football programs!
What I like most about Hillspring Church Community: All of the programs that have been formed from the hearts of the congregation providing members from Hillspring Church and the community the opportunity to give back and or lend a helping hand. What a beautiful expression of love from countless volunteers in this community!
Favorite Movie: The Horse Whisperer
AHA! Moment: Holding both my daughters for the first time!
Book I would recommend: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Background: The Lord brought me to the Tri Cities to Find Him and this amazing church! (If you have a few minutes, ask me my story)
I have had a very different life than most of the church staff. I have worn many hats in my life. To start off, I was born in a strict military family (USMC). We moved very often because of my father’s career. Being a child of a career Marine I saw the horrors of what war could do to men and families by living on many military bases and volunteering in the hospital burn units during the Vietnam War . It is something I will never forget being a young girl. When I was a teenager my father became a lobbyist for several military groups in Washington DC and he began lobbying on Capitol Hill, The Senate, Congress and he even met 5 Presidents. I accompanied him on many occasions to special dinners, banquets and other formal events that included senators, congressmen, High ranking military Officers and too many others to mention. My mother was very ill with cancer and unable to attend. My highlight was meeting the actor, John Wayne. I was privileged to be a companion for Mr. Wayne, and his younger son Ethan.
My mother was very ill during all my teen years so life was not easy for me. I married young and was divorced early in my life. I was a single mother for awhile with a difficult child. So many things had gone bad in my life that I thought God had given up on me so I turned my back on him. I met a wonderful man who happened to fall in love with me and my daughter. We were married, it’s been 34 years now and we had a daughter together. We have two awesome grown children, Michelle 37, and Beth 28. Roby my husband is a retired Commander in the US Navy plus more titles. I have moved 29 times in my 58 years and seen this beautiful country of ours. I have had many jobs because of the constant uprooting in my life. I have done everything from retail, secretarial, medical records tech, emergency room tech, to my passion- banking ; where I last held a position at Banner Bank on Gage as Head Teller/Assistant Mgr. Now, I love working for my church that brought me back to the Lord as their receptionist. I have lived in the Kennewick for 12 years left for 6 yrs to live in Chicago then my husband and I returned to Kennewick to retire here.
What I like most about the Hillspring community: Our church represents Our Lord as a loving, kind, giving Lord. No matter where you are from or what your back ground is you are welcomed and become family. They care about the Tri City community and parts of the world no one is helping. They have ministries that help the hurting and shut ins. We want to reach out to non- English speaking communities. We want our children to know they are loved and wanted here. Hope and compassion is what this church stands for!
Favorite Movie: Quiet Man
AHA MOMENT: When our church used to have the Easter play “The Majesty” . I was still learning about a kinder God. In the play it showed the actor who was playing Jesus arising from the tomb after being dead for 3 days. When the stone was rolled back and Jesus stepped out of the tomb, I heard God speak to me! “Yes I died for you too, because I love you.” I have never been the same ever since. My life was committed back to Christ again at that very second!
Book I Would recommend: Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
Justin BraultIT Specialist (aka Tech Superman)"Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being." – Kevin Kruse
Background: Justin has attended Hillspring Church since birth; his birth, not the church’s. Growing up at the Cathedral he learned to serve others through the church. In 2004 he was an intern at the church and gained a passion for computers, video/audio production and all things electronic. After attending Perry Technical Institute in Yakima, Washington he moved back to the Tri-Cities. He became a resource for solving occasional computer issues at the church until he joined the staff again in 2013. Justin married his wonderful wife, Kirsten, in 2011. They have two dogs and a toddler.
What I like most about the Hillspring Church Community: I love the opportunity to serve in the church I grew up in; to be a leader for Christ among a group of people doing life together.
Favorite Movie: V for Vendetta
AHA! Moment: When I realized that my sin isn't any better or worse than yours. We're all broken and need God's grace.
Books I would recommend: My Imaginary Jesus
Breanne ShortMedia / Graphics Support"People over things."
Background: After living in Tri-Cities her whole life, Breanne was drawn to Hillspring in 2009 and began serving a couple of years after. She helped in different ministries but her primary focus was the youth. In 2013, She moved to Pullman, Washington to pursue a Bachelors degree in Nursing. She has since moved back to Tri-Cities to continue her education (the real reason is because she missed us so much).
Breanne now dabbles with media/graphic work, but you can pretty much find her anywhere near chocolate, or with her dog, Peanut.
What I like most about the Hillspring Community: Of course what I like most about the Hillspring community is the people. But what I LOVE most is that we are a family. This amazing community is more than people I see on Sunday, they are apart of my everyday life; investing in me, challenging me, and most importantly, loving me.
Favorite Movie: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (original)
Aha Moment: Everyday I have several Aha moments or what I like to call, “God moments”, so picking just one is difficult. But the day that I realized that God is bigger and better than everything, is the day I really started living. What could top that?
Book I would recommend: Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes