The Big Three

February 11, 2016 | Kimberly Purvis

I’m sure this title caught your attention.  What in the world is “The Big Three” ― Ford, GM or Chrysler? Being from Michigan, I grew up where everyone knew what The Big Three meant.

But what about Alaska ― what does it mean here? At Anchorage Junior Academy (AJA), it means prayer, Bible study and service. (And that’s not serving yourself!) These are the necessary parts of a well-balanced relationship with Jesus. Having any one is nice, but all three will bring the joy and fulfillment of life that Jesus wants so much for His children.

In an Adventist school, it’s easy to have Bible study and prayer. That’s just built right into our educational time. However, serving others takes a bit more effort. Each year at AJA, we select an all-school community service project in addition to our regular individual classroom service activities.

What a blessing this has been! Over the last several years, we have made personal care packages for the local women and children’s shelter, collected warm socks for the Anchorage Rescue Mission, made “bags of love” for Anchorage Child Protective Services, and collected and delivered food for the Kids’ Kitchen — a local program that feeds supper to homeless and at-risk children.

Every spring we have a “week of care” that is filled with all kinds of community service activities. These are just some of the ways we serve and show our love for Jesus. 

Our biggest service project ever is reaching far beyond Anchorage. This year, we are participating in the Maranatha $10 Church Project. We wanted to help build places of worship for people all over the world so Jesus can come soon. 

As the school year began, each classroom built their “church bank” to collect money. The second Friday of each month, the classes bring their church banks to chapel, and we count the money.

First, we see which classroom wins the challenge (a healthy competition). Then we see find the all-school total.

In the beginning, all the students thought we would build 40, 50 or maybe 100 churches during the entire school year. However, in our very first month, we were shocked to discover we had $620 — 62 churches — and the excitement was phenomenal. 

I learned that one of the third-grade boys, Grayson Libby, 9, had brought his entire savings of $260 and put it in his class bank. His teacher, Mr. Smith, was impressed with Grayson’s generosity but wanted to make sure Grayson's parents knew about it. They had no clue.

That evening, Libby's parents, Cam and Tricia Libby, had a conversation with Grayson. “No matter how we verbalized it, he insisted on giving all of his money to build the churches," explains Tricia. "We gave several scenarios to which he might want to save money for, like a new toy, snowboard lessons, donation to American Heart Association and so on. His response was, ‘Nothing is more important than spreading the word about Jesus, and I believe that churches can help. Isn’t this what Jesus wants me to do? I want Jesus to come soon.’"

Needless to say, the money remained in the church bank. Grayson was beaming with pure joy knowing that he made a huge difference for Jesus. As of Dec. 31, 2015, AJA has helped build 102 churches.

Grayson and his fellow AJA classmates understand what Ellen White wrote so well: “Every youth, every child, has a work to do for the honor of God and the uplifting of humanity” (Education, p. 58).

Maranatha! The Lord is coming!