Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

New Jersey Conference, When Jesus Functions in LNAA, Infinity Is Possible, Lake Nelson Adventist Academy, Tranquility Retreat Center

When Jesus Functions in LNAA, Infinity Is Possible

Story by Ashley Boggess

What do you get when you take five schools, more than 100 students, a few dozen adults, and the support of home, school and conference and provide a high school spiritual retreat for them? United youth praising God across the New Jersey Conference (NJC).

Just as Lake Nelson Adventist Academy (LNAA) has grown from just two high school students to 100, so has the vision of the annual spiritual retreat. What started as two days away from campus for a handful of students has become a three-day event, no longer serving just students enrolled at LNAA but now also students from each of the elementary schools that are in partnership with LNAA, as well as the two junior academies.

The vision began with Elaine Lopez—former math, Spanish, PE and guidance counselor at LNAA, who is now the principal of Tranquility Adventist Elementary School—and has been carried on by Ashley Boggess, LNAA English teacher and spiritual retreat coordinator, and Elisa Maragoto, LNAA principal and NJC superintendent.

Through the financial support of the NJC, “we were blessed to be able to invite all of the high school students from our sister schools to attend the spiritual retreat this year,” says Maragoto.

After finishing their midterm exams, students arrived at Tranquility Retreat Center mid-January. Students checked into their rooms and embarked on a fun-filled weekend of a variety of activities. The breakout sessions exposed students to beekeeping, LEGOS®, archery, painting, relationship guidance, driver’s education and much more.

Moses Njuguna, pastor of the New Maranatha Karibu church in Jersey City, N.J., led the evening keynote meetings, focusing on how the power of God provides endless possibilities. Through relatable stories, biblical connections and prayer, Njuguna connected the young people to the retreat’s theme, “Jesus Functioning in Me Equals Infinity.”

To close the retreat, Webster Sterling, the religion, business, and statistics teacher at LNAA and pastor of the Academy church, led the students in a communion service where they had the opportunity to recommit their lives to God.

This event would not have been possible if it weren’t for the NJC leadership, the school principals, the support staff from the respective schools, and the parents’ trust and support in LNAA. The students were blessed by those who taught breakout sessions, cooked and cleaned up meals, made the beds prior to our arrival, drove, preached and prayed for the retreat. LNNA staff praises God for the seeds that were planted at the retreat.

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