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Treasurer's hope comes from global experiences, insights

Experiences in China, Dominican Republic and Haiti open CPA to trust

By Mary Stamp

While the Pacific Northwest Conference and its congregations often enter the year-end season wondering, even worried, if they will meet their annual budgets, conference treasurer Martha Baldwin said she learned from mission experiences in China in 2006 and in Haiti and the Dominican Republic in 2010 “to trust that God will provide.”

Martha Baldwin
Martha Baldwin with children in the Dominican Republic.

Also treasurer of Kirkland UCC, which she has attended for 20 years, she said she always wanted to see proof, to have the money in hand.

Learned to let go
“Now I’ve learned to let go and have faith that things will come through.  It’s not ours to begin with,” she said.

Baldwin reported that many churches are struggling now, and she is uncertain if they will be able to keep up with their Our Churches’ Wider Mission pledges for 2011 as they hoped.

Given that worry is typical at this juncture in the financial season, she calls for asking: “How do we communicate our need rather than worry about not meeting bills? 

“I believe we always have to have hope that our needs will be provided for in one way or another,” she said.  “It may not always be what we expected initially.”

Visited Haiti and Dominican Republic
In November 2010, Baldwin’s CPA firm, Chaffee Geddes Chucka, PLLC, in Bellevue sent her and several others on staff to visit Haiti and the Dominican Republic to meet children they sponsor through the firm’s ties with Children of the Nations.

She met the 16-year-old boy has sponsored for four years.  She chose him because he is near the age of her son, Ben, 14.  She and Ben have a photo of him, follow him through Facebook, receive letters translated from Spanish to English and send a Christmas card.

While in Haiti on the market day, Baldwin met a 14-year-old girl and noticed that her thong sandals were broken.  Talking with her in French, Baldwin learned they had the same shoe size.  So she took off the pink and white tennis shoes she was wearing and gave them to the girl.

Baldwin is pleased to work for a firm that would offer not only the opportunity for employees to sponsor children but also for them to go on an educational trip to meet the children and learn how they live.  The firm also provides support for a school in the Dominican Repuiblic.

Visited China in 2006 with PNC group
In April, 2006, she joined a Conference Global Ministries mission trip, led by Jennifer Russell to rural areas of China.

“Things are never quite the same after visiting a Third World country,” Baldwin said.  “I now appreciate all I have so much more.”

Seeing how people are happy even though they did not have much, she has come to realize that it’s not necessary to be overly tied to things to be happy.

“It has made it easier for me to let go and not be in control of things,” she said, telling of learning that faith perspective related to her work as a certified public accountant and as volunteer treasurer with the conference and her church.

She felt that when Tod and Ana Gobledale, former missionaries in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Australia, and now in Great Britain, were at Kirkland UCC as interim pastors, her church gained from their global perspective.

Baldwin said she is now looking forward to an opportunity to visit Doug and Liz Searles, Global Mission personnel who were in China when she visited and are now in Poland. 

Shared here experiences at church camps

Junior High Aqua Camp
Junior High Aqua Campers make eyes of God as a reminder that God's eyes are on everyone.

Her involvement with the conference also includes 16 years as a camp counselor or director—following the ages of her children, who are now 28, 25 and 14—at N-Sid-Sen and Pilgrim Firs.

Last summer, she shared a digital slide presentation of her experience at junior high aqua camp at N-Sid-Sen.  The theme that day was “Spread Christian Love through the World.”

After her presentation showed campers how children live in Dominican Republic and Haiti, campers broke into discussion small groups. 

“Several expressed interest in going on a mission trip,” she said.  “Many felt depressed seeing the pictures of the children and realizing and feeling grateful for how easy they (the campers) have it.

“I said the condition of the children they saw was like conditions for many of the world’s population,” she said.

Part of the discussion group made God’s eyes and talked about how God’s eyes watch over all the children of the world.

Became accountant as a way to serve
A CPA since 1993, Baldwin grew up in Milton, Mass., where her father was a United Church of Christ pastor.
Attending church camps in New England, she felt close to God, and she has sought to share that experience with her children.

“It’s been great to see my own children become excited about God through involvement at church camps.

She started her studies at Boston University and earned a degree in accounting in 1988 from the University of Maryland.

She chose accounting on the advise of the director of a social service agency where she was volunteering in Maryland.  He suggested she study accounting, work part time and volunteer part time.  Her former husband’s career brought her to Seattle.

Baldwin reported that PNC churches need to submit OCWM and special offerings to the Conference Office before Jan. 13 for them to count for 2011. 

For information, call 425-454-7505 or email


Copyright Pacific Northwest Conference News © December 2011





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