Prayer Helps Open New School in Sheffield Lake
Story by Heidi Shoemaker
Members of seven churches in northeastern Ohio, along with the Ohio Conference, have been on a journey of faith this year. The July/August 2016 issue of the Visitor shared how educational evangelism grew a rural school in Clarksfield. In the last few months, they have outgrown their building. Thus, a united body—including students, parents, teachers, pastors, members and conference leaders—prayed earnestly for a new school.
School leaders encountered numerous challenges and resigned to the idea of a temporary building. Nonetheless, teacher Jeanne Sinka decided to search the internet “one more time” for a permanent location. Her search turned up a recently closed public school building in Sheffield Lake. The realtor commented this school had providentially not yet been entered into the market. They scheduled a showing with the owner, which led to emergency board meetings with the church and conference leadership. Prayer was a major component and emphasis in these meetings, says principal Leona Bange (pictured above).
The owner accepted their first offer, which was less than half the asking price, despite receiving two higher offers. “[The owner] felt they were different than any other group he had ever worked with,” explained the realtor. Closing came quickly, and work began the same day Bange received her keys.
Sheffield Lake residents appear to be enthusiastic about NOAA (Northern Ohio Adventist Academy), a private school in their community. Visitors stop by regularly to inquire about what the school offers, and say they look forward to attending the school’s upcoming Christmas program. Neighbors and officials from city hall also helped clean and landscape the property during the school’s work bee.
While Bange purchased carpet at Home Depot for her office, a friendly employee asked her, “Would your school have any need for us to do a project for you?” Bange soon learned she was speaking with the store’s community team leader who was in search of projects in the surrounding school districts. A Home Depot team of 10-12 employees will soon clean and repair the school playground and complete two projects each year, with the store providing all of the supplies. “It’s God pouring out the resources of heaven for these kids!” exclaimed Bange.
NOAA now has a 28,000-sq.-ft. home on a three and-a-half acre campus. The school has large classrooms wired for internet and projectors, a gymnasium containing folding lunch tables and wall pads, rooms suitable for a music room and a future science lab, and nearly $10,000 in equipment, materials and supplies. Their first official day of school was September 6.
Learn more about NOAA at northernohioadventistacademy.org.