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Changing Lives at School

Changing Lives at School

Amidst all the challenges going on in our world, it’s uplifting to see students and families being impacted for eternity as a result of Adventist Christian Education. Three schools in particular have witnessed spiritual growth this year.

Principal George Personius shares that Livingstone Adventist Academy in Salem, Oregon has had a couple of middle school students transfer from the public school system who did not initially like their new environment. Their parents wanted them to be in a Christian atmosphere, but since the girls did not want to be at the school, it has been difficult for everyone involved. Somehow, over the course of the year, the students’ hearts have been transformed. When one of them was asked to offer prayer recently, she gave a different response than expected. Personius states, “Normally she would say ‘No thank you,’ but she offered this amazing prayer, according to the teacher.” Now, both girls have asked a pastor at the school for Bible studies.

At Meadow Glade Adventist Elementary School in Battle Ground, Washington, a student from a non-religious background was inspired to pray after a National Day of Prayer event. He wanted to thank God for leading his parents to enroll him at the school. The student also felt encouraged to talk with God because of the influence of the daily environment at Meadow Glade. He told his teacher, “You know, there are two things that have bugged me about this school: All the kids are super nice and all you guys do is talk about God all day long!” Now the student is considering starting Bible studies. Peinado comments, “We’re just praising God for that opportunity to testify and witness what a loving God is!”

The staff at Portland Adventist Elementary School (PAES) in Gresham, Oregon are also praising God for the witnessing opportunities provided by their education ministry. A community family chose to enroll their preschooler at PAES about three years ago after a random conversation with Principal Brandon O’Neal in the school parking lot one summer afternoon. This student and her parents connected with another school family who invited them to their church. They joined a small group led by the pastor and their friends from the school and then began to study Adventist beliefs. After a couple years of study, when the pastor made an appeal they were convicted and decided to set a date for baptism. They also decided to dedicate their daughter. The pastor reflects that the journey of this family “goes to show the power of our schools and the opportunity of ministry we have.” The school was the stepping stone to bringing the family into church community. Principal O’Neal states that it is “really exciting for us to see that connection that was made in our families--not just the child was impacted, but the whole family.”

These stories are just a few examples of lives being changed as a result of the ministry of the 32 schools in the Oregon Conference.

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