We have all been anxious for life to return to normal, but is it too harsh to admit that there is no normal on this earth? Our nation, our world is not improving. As we try to move on from the COVID-19 pandemic, we seem to be facing what some say is the worst economic recession in 40 years. Hope seems to be unattainable for so many, but we as Adventist-believing Christians do have a message of hope. Jesus Christ is returning, and we are anxious for everyone to be looking forward to heaven with Him.
It is exciting to share what is happening in Adventist education in this issue of the Gleaner. But first, let’s back up and remind ourselves of our worldview and put this all into perspective. We believe God created the human race perfect — without sin. Yet, God would teach Adam and Eve face-to-face in the perfect classroom, the garden, to grow them in their character for a life of eternity. Adam and Eve, however, chose to sin and that has sentenced us all to death.
This sin was a statement of distrust of God and who He said He is. It brought a physical separation from God and the first classroom was abandoned. But God, the Trinity, in their deep love for us, exercised their pre-determined plan to save us humans from this death sentence by having Jesus come to earth and save us through His death on a cross. Jesus came to live with His creation, teach us who God really is and sacrifice His life for ours. This is our gift from God, our redemption, our hope.
However, our world view doesn’t end with saving in sin but takes us to saving from sin. This learning of Jesus is our Adventist education mission. Specifically, our mission is: “To lead students to encounter Jesus, accept His gift of Salvation and follow Him.” It is foundational to who we are and why our homes, schools and churches are so important to our spiritual health and character growth.
In her book Education on pages 15–16, Ellen White shares with us, “To restore in man the image of his Maker, to bring him back to perfection in which he was created, to promote the development of body, mind, and soul, that the divine purpose in his creation might be realized — this was to be the work of redemption. This is the object of education, the great object of life.” In Job 28:28, Job tells us, “The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.” Let’s be in agreement that Adventist education is for everyone!
Our homes, schools and churches are all to be united in the purpose of growing each human being from birth to end of this life in our character development by focusing our minds on Jesus. As this change happens in us, we become more like Jesus and share this amazing love story with others. This is evangelism.
In the pages that follow you will find evangelism stories and reports of this mission in progress inside our early childhood centers, our elementary schools, secondary schools and our university. These stories are shared to bring courage to our hearts by seeing what God is doing in our institutions and by being reminded we are not alone but a united family in the Pacific Northwest.
Behind each story we have teachers, administrators, support staff and a host of volunteers who are actively pouring Jesus into our children and young adults. To each of them, we say thank you for your ministry. We are blessed by your participation in this organized system that is infusing seeds of love within our children for the Holy Spirit to convict the hearts and minds.
We also wish to express our sincere appreciation to everyone who support our centers, schools and university behind the scenes with faithful tithing and financial gifts. Gifting is such an important part of ministry. Knowing there is financial support brings encouragement to every worker and student.
Maybe you have been thinking about becoming a teacher or you are presently teaching in another system and are thinking about ministering in a classroom that has Jesus as its foundation. Please don’t push the thought aside. Reach out to your conference superintendent or Walla Walla University School of Education to see how you can become a teacher in our classrooms. Teaching is a highly rewarding ministry that touches lives for God. I know I would not be here today if it weren’t for teachers who invested themselves into me as a child and young adult.
It wouldn’t be right to end this without soliciting each one of us to pray for the ministry that happens inside our classrooms. It is only through the Holy Spirit that lives are changed and healing happens.