Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Fourth-grader Zaria Sway holds a candle to represent the light of God’s Word.

‘Be the Light’ Is More Than a Theme

Story by Ashley Boggess

This year, with nearly 300 students in prekindergarten through 12th grade across five campuses—in partnership with all New Jersey Conference schools—Lake Nelson Adventist Academy (LNAA) has been richly blessed, say school leaders. Themed, “Be the Light,” this year’s focus is to strive to lead students, families and communities into a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus.

Webster Sterling, the school chaplain, high school religion and business teacher, and pastor of the Academy church, spoke at the first chapel service this year, reminding the students and faculty of the different kinds of light we, as Christians, can be for others.

First, Sterling reminded LNAA that God’s Word is the most important light, to guide us as we move through life. Next, he spoke about a beacon light, which is used to point out danger along a path. Another light is the hurricane lamp, which is protected by glass so even the strongest storms can’t blow it out. By renewing our faith in Jesus, we, too, can withstand the strongest storms. A traffic light shows how we can encourage others (green light), caution others (yellow light), and help stop others from doing wrong (red light). The last light is the invalid light, which is used when an individual is sick and needs a calming light to provide peace for healing.

The “Be the Light” theme showed up in other ways during the first week of school. The first Sabbath of the year provided an opportunity for the LNAA school family and the Academy, New Brunswick English and Lake Nelson churches to dedicate the new school year to the Lord, led by Sterling and Elisa Maragoto, LNAA principal and conference superintendent of schools. Individuals raised new flags in front of the school, symbolizing the New Brunswick English and Lake Nelson churches continued commitment to Seventh-day Adventist education. As part of the symbolism, the school staff and board and church members lit candles. Martin Forbes, pastor of both the New Brunswick English and Lake Nelson churches, offered a prayer of dedication over the teachers, students and parents.

As the LNAA family strives to “Be the Light,” they praise God for continuing to broaden its territory, the partnership now expanding to all of the conference’s Adventist schools and providing Adventist education to high school students across the state.

This year, LNAA welcomed its first international student, opening the door to a growth of students from around the world. The academy is also in the process of capital improvements to welcome more students to its campus and incorporate a wider variety of elective courses, hoping to include agriculture, woodworking and other hands-on, experiential learning opportunities.

LNAA staff members pray that the students and families gain a closer relationship with God so they can “Be the Light” in their homes and communities.

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