Academies Pursue Rock-Solid Connection

February 08, 2019 | Education | Larry Hiday

For Adventist academies, vespers programs and good connections (also known as networking) are key elements of the school environment. On Nov. 30, 2018, thanks to student leadership, connections and student-led vespers programing came together in Battle Ground, Wash., as Columbia Adventist Academy (CAA) chaplain Aaron Payne and the campus ministries team invited Portland Adventist Academy (PAA) of Portland, Ore., to join them in worship and praise to the God who unites us.

The evening began with Mark Smith, PAA computer and robotics instructor and rock climber extraordinaire, donating several handholds from PAA’s former bouldering gym to the new CAA climbing gym. Following that transfer, the vespers program continued in earnest as PAA chaplain Mackenzie Thompson (CAA class of 2011) provided 30 extra-large pizzas, a sure-fire hit with any high school group. The praise music was led by a combination of CAA and PAA musicians, joined by more than 100 of their classmates and friends.

A unique prayer activity followed. Students wrote praises or prayer requests on a slip of paper then slid them into balloons. Once inflated, the balloons were sent across the room for someone else to retrieve the slip and pray for that specific praise or request. We’re glad God knows what each of those praises and requests was and is, even if they may not have gotten a human intervention.

The speaker was Jackie James, Meadow Glade Church pastor, who drew analogies from the book Into the Wild, comparing the main character to each of us. “We are lost and don’t even know it, although some are lost and don’t care,” James said. As we left that evening, filled both physically and spiritually, we took with us the challenge James gave to realize how lost we are and desire to be found by the only One who can truly know us.

As we are found and united in Christ, both CAA and PAA students will climb mountains. The training can begin one handhold at a time in the CAA gym, where every wall can be overcome as we take on each challenge with Christ as our Rock.