The Life-Changing Properties of Spring Break
by Al Reimche
Yesterday I had the privilege of being part of our conference board of education. I know some of you think that being part of a board is a strange privilege, but yesterday was just that -- a privilege. We met at the Three Sisters School and right from the start the day was special. The school is comprised of some 30+ students with two teachers, a task-force student teacher and a teacher’s aide. Worship was put on by the students themselves leading in action songs, a well rehearsed and quality readers’ drama about Jesus in a boat on Galilee, as well as a full choir and the kindergarten through 2nd grade bell choir. We came away blessed by their enthusiasm and testimonies of their love for the school. I heard from one of the volunteers how a student that, just a year before, had all sorts of difficulties and challenges had discovered Jesus. And isn’t that the main reason for why we support Christian education?
Later in the day three of our board members, principals within our conference, shared what they had done over spring break. Actually the words 'spring break' don’t even fit their time away from school. One of them, Angela White, from Scappoose Adventist School described traveling to Mozambique and presenting a seven-day training event for teachers in one of ADRA’s schools. As she worked through that week it became apparent that not only was this a needed event for that school, but that all the teachers in the Mozambique Union would have benefited from this. As a result, each of the teachers trained has been commissioned to extend that training to the rest of the union. Angela came back excited, willing to do it again, and glad she was able to come home to her school and church after that experience.
Randy Thornton, from Milo Academy, also spent his spring vacation, not vacationing in the Dominican Republic, but leading a team of students in ministering to the needs in that country. He told of one student who had a complete change of direction as a result of the ministry opportunities she had been a part of. The immediate result was, once again, a long term change, a heart for people.
Dan Nicola, from Portland Adventist Academy, flew in a day before our board from his spring break after spending two weeks in Peru. No, this was not vacation time at a resort either, or a trip to Machu Picchu, but an opportunity to support a group of students as they presented a full evangelistic series in different churches around Tarapoto. As a result of these five series, as well as the additional series coordinated by the NPUC, over 530 people were baptized. But there is so much more to the story. Their ministry included preaching in churches that were blessed with concrete floors and ceiling fans, to churches with just a roof over dirt floors. In one church, the PAA team joined their resources together to help two couples follow through with weddings and subsequent baptisms, which just about doubled the membership of the church! And still there was more to the story, and it wasn’t just the size of the baptisms, the marriages and the friendships developed, but rather the impact that this experience had on our students. Once again there were life changing experiences as the Holy Spirit worked through each of these students.
Yes, the board of education dealt with some basic decisions and acted on all the motions and voting that any good board needs to do, but for me, and each of the board members, the take away was the fact that Adventist Christian education is so much more than assignments and academic accomplishments, there are the life-changing opportunities to discover Jesus and to experience His presence in serving others.