“Go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you.  And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:19-20

We believe that we have been called to use the gifts God has given us to reach unbelievers for Him and to encourage, and build up His Church.

Spiritual Emphasis Week

This year I have been given an additional role at Windham Christian Academy, where I continue to teach middle school.  My new role, though, has me very enthused.  I am the spiritual life coordinator.  Responsibilities include holding two chapel services per week (one for elementary school and one for 7th through 12th grades), supervising and supporting all the class ministries, organizing small groups, and meeting with students individually as appropriate.  Most recently, my new role had me organizing spiritual emphasis week.

Spiritual emphasis week is a fairly common event in Christian. schools, and I have had the chance to be the speaker for a couple of these weeks at Alliance Academy in Quito, Ecuador.  This was my first time organizing one, though.  Basically, spiritual emphasis week involves having daily chpels and follow up events in the classrooms or school wide.  Ours involved a total of eight services, since we combined the two groups for one large chapel program on both Wednesday and Friday.

While I did the organizing for the week, it was much more than a one man job.  Every teacher pitched in in various ways, and even some friends from outside the school got involved.  Our theme was the Lord's Prayer, and each day we focused on a different part of this passage.  Monday we looked at "hallowed (or 'holy') be your name, so we started the week with praise and worship services. Mrs. Seavey, our music teacher, led the elementary classes in singing worship songs.  Then, as she wrapped things up playing some instrumental music, the classes broke up into groups and made murals of what God's holiness made them think of.  These  were then hung in the gym for the rest of the week.  The teens had a praise and worship service too, but I enlisted my friend, Alan, to come lead the music.  He ended up bringing in a five person band!  Wow, did they sound great, and the teens were very enthuisastic in their praises.  After every few songs, I'd throw out a question for the teens to respond to, such as what attribute, title or name of God resonates most with them. They also had time to respond at the end as the band played softly.  Several responded artistically, but others wrote in the journals all were provided for the week, or simply reflect as they listened to the music.  At least one student shared quite a heavy burder with a teacher, and we've been able to get in touch with her parents and get her help.

Tuesday we addressed "thy will be done".  Again there were two services, and in each one, teachers shared their experiences seeking and discovering God's will.  Thank you to so many coworkers who were willing to speak that day.  The kids heard stories about everything from going out on a limb as teachers changed jobs, to a teacher seeing God's hand at work even as her son (a 5th grader in the school) is being treated for cancer.  

Both groups were together on Wednesday as we looked at "give us today our daily bread".  After I gave a brief explanation of how this portion of the prayer was where Jesus taught us to ask for our basic needs each day, I turned things over to Mrs. Dodd, who did a termendous job of explaining the process of baking bread along with the biblical metaphors that go along with the process.  She has the amazing ability to hold everyone's attention from Kindergarten to high school.  As Mrs. Dodd did this, a video was playing of (student) Brenna's mother made showing her going through all the steps of baking bread.  When this was over, the elementary school was dismissed, and the teens stayed and had communion together.  Kids spread out across the gym to have private reflection and prayer, and I was blessed to pray with three high school boys as they wrestled with, well, being high school boys.

Thursday we looked at "forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us".  With the elemenary kids, I spoke about the first part: "forgive us our sins".  Then the students were encouraged to write things they are struggling with on a magic item called dissolving paper.  Then, by class, they brought their papers to a 50 gallon fishtank set up in the back of the room.  They watched as, not only did the ink vanish but the paper did too! That's what happens when we ask God to forgive us our sins; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our sins from us. We used the dissolving paper with the teens too, but the focus was on "as we forgive those who sin against us."  They were encouraged to think of that person  or people they were needing to forgive.  I talked them through the four steps of forgiveness from Tim Keller's book "Forgive" and stressed that forgiving did not mean letting yourself be hurt again, or that what happened 'was no big deal'.  Yes it WAS a big deal, which is why it's hard to forgive.  They then wrote down a symbol to represent their unforgiveness, and again, dropped the dissolving paper into the aquarium, and watched it vanish.  That is what it looks like when we forgive others from the heart.

We ended the week on Friday with both groups of students together again.  We looked at "for yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever."  Then students from each class shared about how they were participating in God's kingdom through their various class ministries.  For a small school, we are doing a lot for the kingdom of God: 

buying a toilet for a school in Uganda,

praying for and zooming with children in the children's wing of the Maine Medical Center

sending gifts and praying for missionaries around the world

visiting a local nursing home

working with a local food pantry

sharing the Gospel through juggling

and each student in the high school has their own ministry hours they are accumulating in a great variety of ways.

Spiritual emphasis week was a very meaningful time for all of us at WCA, albeit exhausting for me!

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A Few Testimonies

The presentation was fun and encouraging... The gospel message was clear and encouraging. I purchased your book and just finished it. Your scope is broad and again encouraging. May God continue to bless your ministry. I will encourage others to read your book. -Parishioner of a local church

"Hey, I  wanted to say that was a great message in chapel today! It touched something:) thanks for doing it!" -High School Student  

"We are so grateful that you brought your amazing ministry back to our church this year... The Gospel message you bring applies to all!  It is such a positive, valuable work that you do."  -Coordinator of Christian Ed. UCC Church

"There's no questioning it. This is powerful stuff. It's extremely touching at times, never less than entertaining, and I see a lot of sincere love for Jesus in you guys."  -Dwight Lilies, song writer

The Lord has given you a wonderful window through which to present the Gospel!   - Field Director of Alliance Missions to Paraguay

"What a wonderful ministry to both children and adults.  In past years it has been a struggle to arrange programing that would hold the attention of all ages, but also challenge each heart with God's gift of Salvation.  Thank you for sharing your ministry."  -Sunday School Sup't.

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