Grants Pass Students Challenged to 'Be Like Jesus'

August 22, 2016 | Jennifer Burkes

Ninth-grade students at the Grants Pass Seventh-day Adventist School accepted a challenge to “be like Jesus.” They gave several days of service in the San Francisco Bay Area recently.

The Center for Student Missions (CSM) provided opportunities to work and learn in urban areas. It has been called an “eye-opening” experience by those who participated. Philip Ermshar, principal and teacher, referred to the trip as “a blessing.” He noted that prayer and discussion surrounded each activity. Spiritual bonds were strengthened.

Saint Vincent’s Day Home in West Oakland, Calif., has served the “poorest of the poor” for more than 100 years. California Governor Jerry Brown referred to the nonprofit as “one of the jewels in Oakland’s crown.”  In this child development center, each student assisted with a classroom. “When it was my turn to go out to the playground and play with the kids, I had them all chasing me," says Stevan Crary. "After the chase, I was mobbed, it felt like, by hundreds of kids.”

While in the Tenderloin District, food was delivered to the sick, disabled and elderly through Project Open Hand. “I was kind of scared when I approached them. After I got started, it wasn't that bad,” says Rebekah Crary.

The class also broke up into groups, praying for and assisting anyone who might have a need. Jhovy Gonzalez had an encounter with a homeless person at a bus stop. “We sat down, talked to him and asked if he wanted anything to eat," explains Gonzalez. "Right at that moment, his face lit up with joy. He mentioned a good place to eat nearby. We took him there and bought food.” 

The ninth-grade class brought enthusiasm and energy to each destination. Those staying at the Bay Area Rescue Mission (BARM) were treated to a meal prepared by the students. While at BARM, they sorted donated clothing. This particular task might not have been everyone’s favorite, but the youth remained fully engaged and completed the task. They also prepared a meal at the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul of Alameda County. 

Each student was asked if they would pursue mission work again, if asked. Unanimously, the answer was, “Yes!” Autum Rose said that she would highly recommend others complete mission work through CSM. Friendships were established, and current ones were strengthened. Mission work helped give these students a closer walk with Jesus. This group will, no doubt, continue to serve while preparing for the soon return of our Savior.