Already? Yes, schools will start soon—and it is up to all of us to give every child the opportunity for an Adventist Education this fall. Just before Jesus ascended to heaven, He gave a charge to Peter that also applies to us. Ellen G. White wrote, “In addressing the apostle, Christ says to all his servants, ‘Feed my lambs.’ When Jesus admonished his disciples not to despise the little ones, he addressed all disciples in all ages. His own love and care for children is a precious example for his followers” (Gospel Workers, p. 405).
We know from the CognitiveGenesis research study that the achievement scores of students in Adventist schools are higher than the national average and that they increase the longer they attend. However, the reason for the significant outlay of financial and instructional resources has more to do with Adventist Education’s spiritual, even evangelistic, aspect. When Ellen White was asked why we should have separate schools, her answer was, “As it has been presented to me, it is the purpose of our educational institutions to teach students how they may be partakers of the divine nature” (Peter’s Counsel to Parents, p. 10).
With that in mind, here are a few stories conveying how God has answered prayers in our schools—the “Sacrifice of Praise” found in Hebrews 13:15. The prayers of our teachers and students have power.
Virgil Hauselt Memorial Christian School – A miracle class
Last August, Daniela Scarpino only had one student enrolled in her kindergarten classroom. In addition to praying, she did everything she could through word of mouth, social media, and putting up signs on the road near the school. She feels it was a miracle that God brought 11 more students—and they were all from the Santa Cruz community. Principal Deborah Joplin exclaimed, “Miss Scarpino now has a miracle class of 12!”
Valley View Junior Academy – Many answers to prayer
Principal Chris Perez could tell of many answers to prayer during this past school year. The biggest miracle was finding a teacher who was willing to come out of retirement after a teacher left in the middle of the school year. The school was also able to maintain their current enrollment, including more community families—which is definitely an answer to prayer.
Hollister Adventist Christian School – Baptisms
Even though baptisms were postponed for a while during the pandemic, Principal Chester Sears believes prayers were answered when the three Ellison children (Katherine, Alicia, and Nathaniel) were eventually baptized during the school year. Two other students also want to be baptized. May God bless each of these decisions for Jesus!
Fresno Adventist Academy – A definite answer to prayer
Principal Gayle Norton is grateful that God answers prayers. While the school was struggling to fill the office manager/registrar position in November, a former teacher, tired of working in the public schools, learned of the opening and applied. Not only were they able to get through the hiring requirements quickly, the new person was able to start right after the Christmas break.
Bakersfield Adventist Academy – Two reasons for praise
The first instance happened in the classroom of Keila Butler, kindergarten teacher. She believes divine intervention brought her one extra child who would not have been there otherwise. Wanting in-person instruction, the family enrolled their son at BAA rather than public school. Starting with no religious background and even declaring, “It’s fake,” at prayer time, the child now loves Bible stories and wants to pray. The family has registered their children for next school year.
The other example shows how God answered the prayers of a family who did not know where to send their two girls to school. They applied at several private schools, but BAA was the only one willing to give one of their daughters a chance. Little Rosie had a difficult time with most schoolwork during her three years in public school, and virtual learning was especially challenging. There have been remarkable changes in both girls. However, the biggest is in Rosie—she now loves school and is doing so much better. As her mother told Principal Mike Schwartz, “Thank you for believing in our children. Thank you for being our answered prayer!”
Los Banos Adventist Christian Academy – Prayers for families
Principal Lea Gilbert will tell you it has been a “roller coaster year” that included a student body of mostly non-Adventists. In preparing for the lower grade classroom to sing at church, Gilbert called each family to explain the event. One family told her, “We’ve actually been thinking about coming to church. We’re looking forward to it!” Another mother shared, “I won’t be able to come, but her dad will bring her even though he has never been to church.” It was then that Gilbert realized, “God answered our prayers! We are touching our community, family by family.”
Templeton Hills Adventist School – Opening doors
After 18 years in the public school system, Carmen Collins wanted the opportunity to teach where she could openly witness and serve children. God opened the doors, and she now serves as the principal/teacher at THAS. Beginning with seven students, prayers were answered as 27 students are now enrolled. She is also grateful for some unexpected financial help and for the community service opportunities for students. Wanting the privilege of giving Bible studies, Collins’ prayer was answered when five students met to study the Bible every Friday after school. Two of them will be baptized soon. In addition, a student’s caregiver now wants Bible studies. Gratefully, Collins said, “The Lord is at work and I am thankful for His presence and the blessings of answering our daily prayers.”
Dinuba Junior Academy – Amazing choice
Evan Hendrix, principal and teacher of the upper grades, prayed that God would reveal Himself during this unusual year. Hendrix soon realized that God was working both academically and spiritually for a seventh-grader who is now a high-achieving and musically talented student. Often serving as a volunteer, Daisy has a growing and personal love for her Lord and Savior. “I’m more than grateful for the people who have taught me about Jesus,” she said. “I have made the most amazing choice in my life, and I will be getting baptized.” God bless you, Daisy!
Mother Lode Adventist Junior Academy – After many days…
What a disappointment it was when some schools had to cancel mission trips in the spring of 2020 because of pandemic travel restrictions. This was especially the case when significant monies expended in advance were unrecoverable. Airline tickets were the biggest outlay for those from MLAJA who had looked forward to going to Peru to build a church. The airline had gone bankrupt and was only offering credit. Praying together, the leadership committee sent what funds they had to Maranatha to build at least the sanctuary part of the church. However, God provided a miracle. On May 14, 2021, nearly 14 months after the trip was canceled, a full refund was received from the airline! As Jennifer Trujillo, the coordinator, explained, “Now we see that God was faithful all through this project. The ‘lost’ money will now bless the people in Peru and fund the full construction by local workers as they complete not only the sanctuary but the classrooms and restrooms as well.”
Foothill Adventist Elementary – Be the hands and feet of Jesus
In spite of the pandemic, FAE was committed to service activities on the first day of May. The kindergarten class handed out flowers and handwritten notes as they walked to a local store, and then they picked up trash at a local park. First- and second-graders filled “Jars of Joy” with treats for leaders in the community. Third- and fourth-graders pulled weeds, washed windows, and even gave a dog a bath at a church member’s home. Fifth- and sixth-graders planted flowers at the Milpitas church and delivered handwritten cards with GLOW tracts to several of the school’s neighbors. Seventh- and eighth-graders packed 100 bags with items for the homeless. By being a blessing to the community, students and teachers had a very fulfilling day.
“Feed My Lambs” – The greatest work
As these stories show, God is eager to answer the prayers of parents, students, and teachers. “Teaching your students to be Christians is the greatest work before you. Go to God; he hears and answers prayers” (Ellen G. White, Christian Education, p. 248).
By Deloris Trujillo
Sponsored by the Office of Education
Central California Conference
What a great opportunity for schools in the Central California Conference during the 2021-2022 school year! Up to 10 schools may apply for the “Haystack Grant,” a method of building school growth layer upon layer and in a certain order. Upon completion of requirements, a $1,000 grant will be awarded, along with a refund of the $200 application fee. A commitment from the administration and each board member is required before the July 30 deadline.
Charlotte Henderson, a professional fundraiser and strategic planning instructor, will provide training in creating an effective board, funding the school, increasing student enrollment, and attracting active volunteers. Ken Bullington, CCC vice president for education, said, “I am a firm believer that this grant is an answer to prayer. Our goal is to create thriving schools that will lead students to God’s kingdom.”
Contact the CCC Office of Education for more information.