Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Blue Mountain Academy, Pennsylvania Conference

A Powerful Start to School Year

Story by Esther Hernandez

Blue Mountain Academy (BMA) began the new year with 161 students—an increase in enrollment over the past three years—and with several “power weekends” featuring speakers who shared their testimonies and challenged the young people and staff to take the steps needed to strengthen their relationships with God.

Justin Kim, assistant director of Sabbath School and Personal Ministries for the General Conference, challenged students not to settle for being mediocre.

Junior student Lucas Magnum shares what impacted him from the weekend: “We sometimes think ... we don’t have to be careful when we hang around friends who aren’t Christian and how they could influence us. Or how we use the latest technology to watch videos or listen to music instead of using it to help God and His mission. We need to be extra careful with what we let our minds see and think. If we are in a situation that can influence us to break our relationship with God, we need to pray and ask Him what we need to do to strengthen our relationship with Him instead.”

Sophomore Mark Vine adds, “Dr. Eric Walsh presented the Bible and the parables of Jesus in a way presentable to the youth. His presentations showed me why it is important to self-evaluate myself; whether the seed grows depends on me, not the Sower.”

Walsh, who earned a doctorate degree in Public Health from Loma Linda University (Calif.), is a practicing physician and health care administrator.

Other speakers included pastors Jack and Amanda LaCamera. Jack serves as the associate pastor for the State College and Lewistown churches in Pennsylvania.

“We have been blessed with powerful speakers over the last few weeks, and there are more scheduled in the future,” states Burney Culpepper, BMA’s principal. “These weekends help to reinvigorate our spiritual life and point us to the only source of hope—Jesus Christ.”

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