Miracles of Prayerful Faith: Adventist Education

Posted on Jun 15 2017

April is Adventist Christian Education month across the Southeastern California Conference, providing many opportunities to tell the stories of God’s provision for eager students of all ages. Many Adventist parents have high goals for their children to be educated in church school. They are willing to make great sacrifices, but still struggle to find the means to make their dreams a reality.

Schools across the conference work diligently to provide opportunities for students to earn scholarships, participate in support programs and receive the assistance needed to enable them to study in Adventist schools.

Nancy Luna attends Vista Spanish church. When her oldest son, Brian, was in ninth grade, she wanted more than anything for him to attend an Adventist school. But as a single mother of two children, she saw no way to make that dream possible. Instead of accepting defeat, she and her children began to pray for a way where they could see none. Unexpected financial assistance gave Brian the chance they were praying for, and he enrolled in Escondido Adventist Academy.

It wasn’t long until Brian’s little brother, Osmar, was asking to go to Adventist school too. Again, Luna and her boys started praying for a miracle, and again, unexpected finances showed up. Osmar participates in a scholarship program for elementary students, “adopting” a local senior citizen and visiting them. He spends regular time with an elderly woman, bringing her yummy treats, singing Sabbath school songs and just sitting and talking.

“I am so happy to see her smile when we visit,” Osmar said. “She is so excited for us to keep coming and she always wants to know when we will come again!”

Luna said she could not be happier that her boys are receiving an Adventist Christian education.

“We have always attended church, but I was so afraid of the influences of public high school,” Luna said. “I am so blessed that God has provided the opportunity for my boys to benefit from Adventist education! This experience has taught me that God can make anything possible if you are willing to pray and ask and have faith in His will.”

“When you look at many of our school families, all the odds are against their children attending an Adventist school,” said Corinne Robinson, business manager at Escondido Adventist Academy. “But by God’s grace, their children are here.”

Kailani Cotton is a senior at Orangewood Adventist Academy and has been in Adventist schools all her life.

“Orangewood has given me the opportunity to get involved in things like sports, music and leadership,” Cotton said. “I’ve loved building the friendships which have helped me grow in Christ during my five years here. This school has become a home to me.”

Students thrive when their home and school support systems are synchronized. Cotton’s parents have worked hard to make it possible for her to stay in Adventist schools, even when it seemed that prayer and faith were the only things keeping her there. She credits her home environment, a low student-teacher ratio and uplifting staff with giving her a solid preparation for her future. Teachers who provide a spiritually nurturing environment are also high on her appreciation list.

“Last year, I was baptized at a beach vespers, and I know that without the support of my school, family and Bible classes that would never have happened,” Cotton said.

Youth who are part of Adventist education are more likely to actively serve in their local church, as well. Alger Keough, associate pastor at Azure Hills church, has seen it happen there.

“At Azure Hills, more than 20 percent of our church deacons are between the ages of 12 to 18,” Keough said. “In my observation, once they have developed a pattern of service while young, they are more likely to remain active as adults. Adventist education is a great investment in the present, as well as the future, of the church.”

Sometimes, families who have been faithful supporters of Adventist Christian education suddenly experience challenges that test their faith. Jenny Smith* and her husband have two daughters in elementary school. Their older daughter started kindergarten in public school, but the environment and influences were disillusioning. When both girls began attending Loma Linda Academy, they settled in happily. Then, family tragedy struck. Smith’s mother was diagnosed with cancer and had a tumor wrapped around her spine. She was facing paralysis. Suddenly, every aspect of life seemed fragile.

“Our finances were strapped, and sometimes friends would just show up with food so we wouldn’t go hungry. We had no idea how we would survive,” Smith said. She and her husband sat down and assessed their finances. Their mortgage and the girls’ school tuition were almost equal, and they agreed that public school was the only feasible option for the next fall.

One day, Smith’s mother decided to pray for a miracle. A strong believer in Adventist education, she felt that this prayer needed to be prayed down on her knees, asking God to pour out His blessings so that her granddaughters could stay in church school.

“I had to take a leave of absence at work to take care of my mother, which cut our income dramatically,” Smith said. “One day I was sharing our situation with one of the pastors at our church and mentioned our dilemma about school.”

The pastor shared their needs with others, and people helped figure out how to help the girls receive worthy student funds.

“On the last possible day for financial clearance,” Smith said, “my daughters were able to be assigned to a classroom and stay enrolled for the next year. And now, my mom’s cancer is in remission too!”

Stories like these are the inspiration for many parents’ prayerful faith for their children’s education. Offerings given to Adventist Christian Education during the month of April, and throughout the year, will allow many more families to experience their own miracles and answers to prayer.

*Name changed to protect the privacy of the family.

by Sarah McDugal