Feb. 28, 2023 was a big day for Juneau Adventist Christian School. A blizzard was raging when the Jefferson Christian Academy group came to visit. JCA is a small Adventist academy located in Jefferson, Texas, that chose to assist the Juneau school for its 2023 mission trip. Twenty-two students and eight adults arrived with choir voices and bells, warm socks and youthful energy to tackle remodeling work. The to-do list was long, but that did not put them off.
JCA spent several days grocery shopping, setting up in the basement of the church and playing in the snow. For some, this was their first experience with extreme weather. With hikes across a frozen lake, pictures with icebergs, sledding and ice skating, free time was never spent stationary. Some shoveled snow just for the fun of it! The students learned Alaskan history at the local museum and, after the weekend, the group went to work.
The group started by clearing out the classrooms of “treasures," and then moved to washing windows and taping, patching and painting walls, cabinets and ceilings. They stayed busy sorting hundreds of textbooks, constructing a storage shed and building preschool cubbies. Playground equipment was removed, and adults replaced plumbing. At week’s end, newly painted walls gleamed and open spaces begged to have children’s voices reverberating off the walls.
Praising God in music, the students presented a concert for the local nursing home and prayed with the residents. They sang songs in Tongan, Samoan and English and beautifully rang bells. No doubt angels were singing along, and all were blessed by the young people’s passion for the Lord.
It was a bittersweet farewell when JCA packed to leave. However, the early morning departure still held one more miracle. After arriving at the airport with 30 people and 51 bags, airport staff would not accept 10 pieces of luggage due to packaging. A church friend was called at 3 a.m. to help secure clearance for the luggage. Without their help, the expense of the trip would have been increased.
While JCA came for just 11 days, they will forever be in our hearts. God willing, the school will reopen this fall as a pre-kindergarten/kindergarten school offering childcare for ages 3–5.
God has shown Himself faithful to our small church family and we believe He wants us to be a blessing to the community through our school. The mission work of JCA was the kick-start needed to be His hands and feet in Juneau.