Storm Ministries is a group of student leaders who, along with campus chaplain Pastor Alexy Gatica, are responsible for the overall spiritual programming on the Thunderbird Adventist Academy (TAA) campus. In addition to weekly chapels and monthly youth church programs at the campus church, these young people are intentional about providing a variety of activities and spiritual programs to meet the diverse needs of the student body.
This year the Storm Ministries leadership chose the theme “Resilient,” which is based on the Bible text Micah 7:8: “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me” (NKJV). During the first chapel of the year, Pastor Alexy reminded students that, although the world looks different and we may feel discouraged, God gives each of us the power to bounce back from hard moments.
With the intention of bringing more unity to the campus, Storm Ministries launched two new mentorship programs: Senior Sisters and Brotherhood. Senior Sisters partners a senior with a freshman for the school year, helping them navigate the novelty of high school and providing a trusted person to go to with any questions. Brotherhood is led out by a few senior boys, and they use their meeting times to answer questions about being a man through Scripture. Each of these groups kicked off the program at the first lawn vespers of the year.
Another avenue of reaching and connecting with the youth is through the Storm Ministries podcast “RealTalk.” The podcast, created by the Storm Ministries team last year with the aid of former chaplain Pastor Zack Surovec, continues this year with Season 2. The bi-monthly podcast segments hosted this year by four upperclassmen—Lana, Riley, Jordi, and Marakit—delve into serious and fun topics that are on the hearts of teens today, and they occasionally invite other guests to join the discussion.
One longtime campus tradition that Storm Ministries coordinates is school-wide Lake Day. Students and staff were especially excited to take part this year, after missing the event last year due to COVID. Loading buses and vans, they traveled about 45 minutes to Lake Pleasant for an entire day filled with swimming, tubing, paddleboarding, canoeing, and games—anything to keep cool in the 100+ degree heat of Arizona. As the sun began to set, the TAA family came together to welcome in the Sabbath with vespers, where one of their own shared her testimony about how God worked in her life. Following the touching testimony, each class gathered and took time to pray before heading back to campus.
The mission of Thunderbird Adventist Academy is for students to EXCEL: EXperience Jesus, Communicate Clearly and Think Critically, Embrace Service and Citizenship, and Live Healthfully in Body and Mind. The Storm Ministries team is a shining example of the mission in action!
By Tanna Allison