Campion Church and Campion Academy students worshiped together on Sabbath for the first time this school year. On this dedication Sabbath, Pastor Rodlie Ortiz had his first sermon at Campion Church’s lead pastor.
In his sermon, he encouraged the audience to let go of their personal burdens and go to God for rest. Ariel Patterson, senior, commented. “I really like the new pastor. His sermon spoke to so many students. He explained how we must go under God’s yolk and He will help us.”
Students in the Music Department helped lead worship, which included a performance from Koinonia, Campion’s select choir, after just two days of rehearsal. Abby Waworoendeng, one of the soloists in Koinonia, expressed, “I was nervous, at first, to sing because we didn’t have a ton of time to prepare, but once I was up there singing, I felt better. I knew God was there with me.”
During the service, the teachers and staff were invited to come forward and were prayed over for their ministry this academic year.
After church, all of the students and church members enjoyed food and games together on Center Campus. Students from Campion and kids from the church played friendly games of football and soccer together. The new pastor joined in, getting to know students and families. Ortiz shared, “I love being around young people! The students have a buzzing energy. I’m so excited to be here and get to know all the students.”
Vashty Segovia Santos, Student News Team
Campion Academy rang in the new school year on Sunday, August 13, welcoming 122 students at the annual Handshake event.
The Student Association officers played a scale on the handbells to introduce themselves and the theme of the year: Harmony with Him, Harmony Within. Following, Student Association Spiritual Vice-President Samuel Walton shared a worship thought explaining how he focused on improving his relationship with God this summer while working Youth Rush, and he was able to have better harmony in other aspects of his life.
Eva Resz, senior, reflected, “The worship thought gave me perspective on the importance of having a personal relationship with Christ; if we cannot have harmony in our own lives how can we have harmony with others? The testimony Sam shared gave me that extra motivation I needed to start this school year!”
Students were divided into their class groups for a few competitions to break the ice. The sophomores and seniors dominated the games while the juniors took more time to work together as the school’s largest class of 43 students.
“One game that stood out to me was doing the human knot,” explained Catie Fairfield, senior; “I remember the intensity and pressure to finish first. It was a good bonding moment because we had to use teamwork, patience, and communication to untangle ourselves.”
Sticking with tradition, the staff and students formed a huge line to shake each person’s hand, welcoming each other back to Campion.
A new junior from Brighton Adventist Academy, Vashty Segovia expressed, “Seeing everyone being so welcoming and open with me helped ease my nerves about leaving my family and coming to Campion for the first time.”
To conclude Chaplain Carlos Santana offered a prayer of dedication for the school year where staff and students prayed over each other.
Eight Campion Academy students spent their summer vacation knocking on doors throughout Colorado, selling religious books, praying with people, and increasing their reliance on God as part of the Rocky Mountain Conference Literature Evangelism Program: Youth Rush.
Pastor Matt Hasty led the group of 24 high school and college-age students. The group spent time working in Denver, Colorado Springs, and various smaller mountain towns including Alamosa, Vail, and Aspen.
The students raised over $209,000 in book sales, 75% of which goes directly to the students to help pay for their school tuition, an average of $6,000 per student. They ended their work by successfully campaigning to raise enough money to donate at least one book to each of the 7,000 households in Cañon City, Colorado.
Beyond the financial benefits, the students expressed how working through the program helped them grow closer to God. Following, each of our Campion Academy students shared a short testimony from their experience:
Izuchi Nwankwo, sophomore: “Youth rush was the best experience! I really enjoyed satellites (when they split into groups to visit smaller towns) because I had my highest books days and grew closer to God. Doing Youth Rush increased my faith!”
Samuel Walton, senior: “I loved the experience at Youth Rush, and the most impactful moment for me was when I met a man who just recently started reading the Bible and he signed up for Bible studies. The spiritual environment is so rich, and we hit a world record for the highest summer in Youth Rush history. 10/10 - highly recommend.”
Jayden Angormes, Campion graduate: “It was an amazing experience! As a former Campion student who participated in LE during high school, I am grateful for the experience. My favorite part of the summer was van leading for the first time instead of canvassing. It was amazing being able to contribute to the spiritual environment and spending hours in prayer. God blessed greatly this summer, and helped us make colporteur history. Recommend to everyone to try once!”
Gabriel Balbin senior: “Before Youth Rush started, I felt discouraged in my faith, and I didn’t want to go. However, I felt impressed to go and work for God, and ultimately, it was a huge blessing. The biggest experience that showed me God’s character was when I knocked on a door and the guy donated a large sum of money. Living in an environment like that with people who were genuinely close with God, inspired me to get closer to God. I connected with one of our leaders, Nick Lesch, and he really helped me see God through the spiritual talks we had.”
Lillian Resz, sophomore: “This summer I was amazed by all the people that God sent my way. While knocking door-to-door a lot of people quickly say no without knowing what we are sharing. But I know, either way the Holy Spirit was moving upon many hearts. As an example, one man quickly shut the door, but he still took one of our glow tracks. After I had gone to the next door, the same man walked out and approached me and said that he had read the glow track I had left with him. He explained that his church had very similar beliefs and he wanted to help support what we were sharing. Ultimately, he bought The Great Controversy and The 28 Fundamental Beliefs. Being able to spend time with God at every door and feel His presence helped me to grow spiritually. Every person in program also encouraged great growth in my walk with God and it was a powerful summer.”
Luca Lu, sophomore: “I went from a shy person that didn’t dare to talk to anyone at the door to a colporteur
that reached about 100 people every day. God really changed my heart through this program.”
EJ Woy, junior: “I met so many interesting people. I had crazy experiences and many divine appointments. Doing Youth Rush helped me learn to just lean on God way more.”
Eva Resz, senior: “This summer has truly been a blessing. It has helped me grow closer to God and realize the importance of talking to Him everyday. While going door-to-door you face many struggles, which can be discouraging. There were moments where I felt like I could no longer continue working, but every time I felt like giving up, I would turn to the Bible which always gave me encouragement. The Bible says in Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Holding onto the promises God has given me in the Bible has helped me grow spiritually! One of my favorite experiences this summer was leaving Steps to Christ with a man that was longing to have a closer walk with Jesus. Overall, I would recommend Youth Rush to anyone who’s interested in doing ministry.”
Jill Harlow, Communication Director
The Campion Church Pastoral Search Committee has recommended the name of Pastor Rodlie Ortiz to fill the position of lead pastor. He and his family have visited us, and they have accepted the Campion Church’s and Rocky Mountain Conference's invitation to come fill the position.
Pastor Ortiz has been on the pastoral team of Pioneer Memorial Church at Andrews University since June of 2011, serving as outreach pastor, leader of the grow groups, a member of the interfaith committee, and the community engagement council among other assignments. He also created and led Hope Trending, a North American Division sponsored evangelistic series.
During his time at Pioneer Memorial Church, he provided leadership and direction as a member of the North American Division (NAD) Young Adult Ministry Advisory, supporting young adult ministry in the NAD. He was also a member (in fact, president) of the Berrien Springs-Eau Claire Rotary Club.
Ortiz graduated from Southern Adventist University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology in 2002, a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in 2005, and a Doctor of Ministry, Missional Leadership Cohort from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2019.
Pastor Ortiz grew up as the son of an Adventist Navy Chaplain, so is used to living in many different places and cultures. He is married to Iveth Ortiz, a special education teacher; they have two sons, Jonathan (15) who will be a junior at Campion Academy, and Daniel (13) an eighth grader at HMS Richards School.
The Ortiz family plans to be here for the start of school next week and his first Sabbath will be August 19 for our campus dedication service.
Pastor Micheal Goetz and family concluded their ministry at Campion in May and have moved to Kettering in Ohio. There remains one position open for an Associate Pastor at Campion Church which was previously held by Mike Taylor who moved to Wyoming in March.
Campion Connections Newsletter
After four days of heart-moving speakers, practical workshops, and time to connect with colleagues, the Campion teachers and staff have returned from the North American Division Teacher’s Convention in Phoenix with fresh inspiration for the new school year.
Teacher Lindsey Santana found particular inspiration from the variety and quality of speakers that were there, stating “So often as a teacher it’s easy to get lost in the to do lists and the fear of not being the perfect teacher. But the talks this past week have reminded me that all I need to do is rely on the power of Jesus and the product will end up being something ten times better than anything I could have asked or imagined on my own. I can’t wait to keep that at the forefront of my classroom this year.”
Over 5,500 people attended the convention from across the United States and Canada. The teachers agreed that one of the greatest benefits of the convention was the chance to meet and collaborate with other teachers of the same subjects. Carlos Santana shared, “I really appreciated getting to meet in a group with other school chaplains. We exchanged contact information and will be able to connect with each other for ideas and advice throughout the year.”
Despite the temperatures in Phoenix exceeding 110 degrees, the teachers stayed cool moving from session to session in the air-conditioned convention center. The schedule was full, with up to 12 hours a day of meetings, but the Campion staff took time to share ideas and laugh together, growing as a team.
The convention ended with a speech from NAD President Alexander Bryant that encouraged teachers to focus on following God’s plan in their classrooms. To close the meeting, the teachers gathered at the front to recommit their lives and their classes to God.
Jill Harlow, Communication Director
Campion Academy is pleased to announce that Cherie Gruesbeck Haffner has accepted the position as our Assistant Dean of Women. Haffner has been working in Adventist education for over 30 years and has taught in almost every grade level from preschool to university. Haffner will also be teaching Independent Living at Campion.
While this will be Haffner’s first experience as a dean, she explained that it is a job she has always wanted to do, as she feels it will allow her to connect and mentor young women in a meaningful way. Haffner has worked for years as a teacher-trainer and student-teacher mentor besides her years in the classroom.
Haffner currently lives near Loma Linda University in California where her husband, Pastor Karl Haffner is the Vice-President for Student Experience. Pastor Haffner will not be moving with his wife to Colorado, but they will be traveling back and forth during weekends and breaks to spend time together.
Despite the upheaval, Haffner felt God was leading her to the dean position. She explained, “I have followed my husband as a pastor all my career, and now that our kids are grown, I was looking for an opportunity that would be fun and meaningful for me personally. I absolutely loved dorm life both in academy and college and always thought it would be so fun to be a dean. I raised two girls and we always had a house full of their friends. I enjoyed getting to be a support and a mentor in their lives.”
Developing positive relationships with students has always been her favorite part of teaching and is especially important in a residence hall. “I love listening to people’s stories and just spending time with people. I look forward to hanging out with the girls and being there with them through everything they are going through,” she shared.
One thing she wanted to share with the girls that will be under her care and their parents is that: “I try my best to love people the way Jesus would: unconditionally and without strings. While I’m not perfect, I will always try to treat you with respect and honor you. I’m often called a cheerleader of people, and that’s what I hope to be with the girls. I will be your cheerleader and your biggest fan.”
The Haffners have two adult daughters, Lindsey, Youth Pastor at Redlands SDA Church, and Claire, a Social Work major at Walla Walla University. For fun, their family loves to play pickleball, cook meals together, and play table games. Haffner also mentioned she is a habitual organizer, so much so that she considers organizing a past-time. Finally, she is an avid reader, and their family enjoys discussing books together.
We look forward to welcoming Cherie Haffner to our campus in August!
A group of about 50 people from Campion Church, including Campion students and teachers Erin Johnson, Haley Baker, the Gann family, and the Jordan family, were able to take a trip of a lifetime to the Holy Land, June 19-26. Addison Gann, sophomore at Campion, shared a bit about their incredible experience.
The first day was a relaxing day as people arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel to get ready to travel. On day two, the group was met by the tour guide Samir, and the tour began by driving through Joppa, then exploring Caesarea which is where the Hippodrome and Stadium of Herod are located.
Day three was a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and a trip up to the top of Mount of Beatitudes. Erin Johnson, one of Campion’s teachers said, “The biggest impact for me was being on the Sea of Galilee, and being where Jesus has calmed the waters, and where He performed so many miracles. It was great to see it because now I’ll never read the Bible the same.”
Day four included a trip to the ruins of Jericho, a look at the cave where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, and a float in the Dead Sea!
The fifth day was a cable car up to Masada, and in a short story, it is where a mass of Jews chose to kill themselves instead of being captured by Romans. Travelers also got to visit Lazarus’s first tomb, and then to finish the day off, the group went to the Wailing Wall to welcome the Sabbath.
On day six the travelers went to a garden where there is a tomb which archeologists have said could have been Jesus’ tomb. Then the group had a special communion together in the garden to close. After the garden, they went to the church where the disciples were taught to pray the ever famous Lord’s Prayer, and visited the top of the Mount of Olives. Other sites that the group visited included the Garden of Gethsemane, the Pool of Bethesda, the church where Jesus was first taken to Pilate, Mary the mother of Jesus’s house she was raised in, the road that Jesus carried the cross on, (the Via Delarosa) and the Church of the Sepulcher. Finally, some went inside Old Jerusalem to watch a light and sound show, portraying the history of Jerusalem.
On day seven the group visited the cave where the shepherds were told the good news of Jesus being born, as well as the possible birthplace of Jesus. The group also visited the Dome of the Rock, and at the end of the day, they went to the Valley of Elah where David fought Goliath.
Day eight might have been the most exciting as most of the travelers trekked through Hezakiah’s tunnel. Hezakiah’s tunnel was how they brought water from the spring outside into Jerusalem. Everyone enjoyed tramping through the cool spring water, which at times was up to the knees or higher. After the cooling excursion, they visited the house where the Last Supper took place. Finally, the last destination was Josephus’s house where Jesus was first brought after being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Pastor Michael Goetz, Campion’s former head pastor, organized the whole trip and said that the best part of the tour was “Caiphus’s house, where Jesus was lowered into the pit. It had escaped my readings before, and the prophetic Psalms describing the pit came alive, and you could hear the echo of Jesus being beaten. In that pit, His love came alive.”
Jack Jordan, junior at Campion Academy, said, “The people of Israel had the greatest impact on me. Their religions, life choices, and how passionate they were about their choices. The Jews never missed or skipped their prayer time, even on the airplane. The people of Israel show me that though they don’t believe as I do, I shouldn’t be afraid to live out what I believe.”
Overall, despite the intense heat, travel stresses, and no air conditioning in some places, this was a life changing experience for everyone on the trip.
Addison Gann, Guest contributor
In June, Marcela Zuniga, junior at Campion, served for almost one month on a mission trip to Mansa, Zambia. A group of about 20 attended the trip including Marcela’s sister, Dayanara, incoming freshman, Haley Beckermeyer, 2023 graduate, and Kent Kast, former staff member.
Organized by Jim Lynch with Give Back to Humanity, the group spent most of their time constructing a wall for a Seventh-day Adventist school in Mansa. The wall would help the school to mark off the property and keep the kids safe during the school day. Marcela shared that they typically worked 10-hour days, but were able to spend time in worship with the local children each evening.
Marcela remembered, “The local people were very hospitable, always making us feel like we were at home. I enjoyed that they were happy with what they had and they showed me that small things in life do matter. The kids showed so much faith and love for God and were grateful for what they had.”
Haley Beckermeyer agreed saying, “My favorite part was getting to know the local students. They were all super kind and friendly, and you’d never feel lonely while you were there. They were all very thankful for us coming, and it felt like they were more of a blessing to us than anything we did.”
Despite the hard work, the students expressed how the experience blessed them. Marcela shared, “It made me grateful to know we praise the same God and helped me realize I am blessed to be able to go to Campion. It was a rewarding and life-changing trip.”
Jill Harlow, Communication Director
Zeca and Cindy Santana along with Dean and Sue Helm recently returned from 10 days in Brazil where they met with potential new students and families and established strong connections with many Adventist schools in the capital city of São Paolo. As a result of the trip, Campion is expecting 6-12 new students from Brazil to enroll in the upcoming school year, with most arriving in January.
During their trip, they visited over seven different schools where they introduced middle and high school students to Campion Academy. At the assemblies, Zeca Santana was able to talk about the experience of coming to Campion in his native tongue, Portuguese, while Dean Helm provided entertainment with his Helmdini magic shows.
Paulo Pedroso Nascimento, an international student agent with his own company, You Bet Schools, arranged for the school visits and helped connect the Helms and Santanas with students with serious intentions of studying abroad. Paulo has been the primary agent Campion has worked with since 2018 and has sent over 25 Brazilian students to Campion over the years.
In the evenings, around 20 families attended meetings at Paulo’s office to talk about specific details and arrangements. Current and former Campion students from Brazil also attended the meetings to share about their experiences.
Zeca Santana was instrumental in organizing Campion’s first recruiting trip to Brazil in 2018, and the first seven Brazilian students arrived in January of 2019. Since that time, Zeca has served as guardian for all of the Brazilians and always kept in close contact with their families while supporting the students. Many of the potential students that attended the recruiting meetings were brought directly from the families of current and former students at Campion due to their positive experiences.
A highlight of the trip for the Santanas was having the opportunity to reunite with former students and families. The Brazilian students often refer to Zeca as Vovô, grandpa in Portuguese, as he and Cindy have become like family to them. Zeca shared that parents strongly expressed their appreciation for the staff and committed to spreading the word that Campion Academy is a great place to send their teens to not only learn English, but to be guided in their spiritual lives.
Most of the students that come to Campion from Brazil are Seventh-day Adventists and their primary motivation to come is to learn English and potentially study at American universities. Fluency in English opens the doors to many job and career opportunities for young adults in Brazil, significantly affecting their future.
Dean Helm commented, “It was a great trip overall and we were very well received. It was a positive relationship-building trip with our agent as well as our current parents, and future students and families.”
In the final days of the trip, they were able to tour Rio de Janeiro and enjoy some of the world-renowned views.
We are pleased to announce our newest staff member, Peter Hutauruk, coming to us from Dakota Academy. Hutauruk will be teaching Algebra I, Food Science, Physical Science (formerly Earth Science), and Physics. Additionally, Campion’s applied through Union College for a dual-credit option with Hutauruk’s Physics class, pending approval. Hutauruk and his family will be moving to campus around the end of June.
By way of introduction, Hutauruk shared a bit more about himself in this Q&A.
Q. What is your background and education?
A. I was born and raised in Indonesia, lived in the Philippines in my early years, went to San Yu Adventist School in Singapore for secondary education, to Mission College (now Asia-Pacific International University) in Thailand for a Bachelor’s of Science in Math, and finally to Andrews University for a Master’s of Science in Math and Physics.
Q. What has been your recent working experience?
A. Recently, I taught at Dakota Adventist Academy for 10 years as a Math and Physics teacher.
Q. Why did you choose to come to Campion?
A. Campion has a long and rich history in Adventist Education in witnessing for Christ, as well as a warm, welcoming church and community that I’d like to be a part of. The beautiful nature and the Rockies that surround the campus are some of the many things we love about Campion.
Q. What do you love about being a teacher?
A. I love seeing students working, collaborating, learning, and growing together. It brings me joy and satisfaction.
Q. Would you tell us a bit about your family?
A. I’m married to my beautiful wife Ellen, and blessed with Jacob (2) and Janelle (1) as my children. We have a 90-pound Labrador named Duke (11). We enjoy traveling and exploring new places together.
Q. How do you spend your free time?
A. I love spending time with my family, playing sports, enjoying nature, and learning photography.
We look forward to introducing Hutauruk to our students and families this August!