Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Webster Sterling, academy chaplain, reviews the baptismal vows with candidates Miriana Lefleur, Chloe Gerard, Isaiah Beauburn, Daniel Ramos and Lucas Gerard.

Week of Prayer at Lake Nelson Adventist Academy Ignites Students for Christ

Story by Ashley Boggess

Spiritual growth and development are the most important tenets of a Christian education at New Jersey Conference's Lake Nelson Adventist Academy. The goal is to help students learn to “Be the Light,” the theme for this school year and the focus of a recent Week of Prayer. How can students be a light when they are surrounded by the world’s darkness?

During this week, Webster Sterling, the school chaplain, high school religion and business/economics teacher, senior class advisor and pastor of the Academy church plant, led students through a journey with the blind man, referenced in Mark 8. Through dramas and skits, the senior class illustrated the events surrounding the blind man and his healing. Sterling helped students explore many questions: Was the blind man punished for a sin? Are we punished for the sins of others? How are we blind in our own lives? How can we allow God to help us see?

In exploring these questions, Sterling helped the students understand that humans have blind spots—both mental and physical. He said that sometimes we cannot trust our emotions because of mental blind spots; other times we cannot trust our eyes because of the physical blind spots. We have to surrender to God and allow Him to heal our brokenness and blindness so that we can see the Light, draw close to the Light and “Be the Light.”

The culminating celebration of the Week of Prayer was a special Sabbath program at the Academy church plant. Sterling led another powerful message of how God’s grace and love can root out the darkness. God’s family welcomed five young people who committed their lives to God to “Be the Light”: second-grader Miriana Lefleur; second-grader Chloe Gerard; third-grader Isaiah Beauburn; sixth-grader Lucas Gerard; and fifth-grader Daniel Ramos.

“It is such a blessing to see the Lord working in the lives of Lake Nelson students,” says Elisa Maragoto, principal. “From getting baptized, singing praises to God, and performing in chapels and the Christmas program to service activities and care for the community, God continues to bless the school with talented students who choose to ‘Be the Light.’ Our prayer is that our students, their families, their communities and everyone they meet may see the Light of the Lord shine through them in their actions, words and values.”

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