Last Monday evening began the first week of prayer for the second semester of the school year. The first three nights, students shared their personal testimonies. The final three days, members of Coming Out Ministries gave their testimonies as well. Each night the speakers shared personal stories on how God has worked in their lives and what God has done for them.
The theme song for this week of prayer was “Scars” by I Am They. The song had an overall theme of embracing the hard times you go through, and using the scars to get closer with God. This theme was also carried on into the messages of each speaker. Each one talked about their scars, and how they brought them closer to God.
Eddie Camacho, a senior, was the first speaker of the week. Eddie started off the first night with a relatable story about growing up Adventist, but learning the importance of finding God on his own is the only way to have a real relationship with him. The second speaker, Delanie Kamarad, talked about the importance of leaning on God and family when times are tough. Jayden Anggormas told his story while paralleling it to the biblical story of Samson. He talked about what his “Delilah,” or temptation, was and how God helped him overcome it.
“The students' testimonies really had an impact on me. I could really relate to some of their stories and it really helps in my own life to see what others go through and how God can help them through it,” reflected Lindsey Smith.
“The students had a lot of courage to stand up there and share what they had gone through,” noticed Lizzie Pearson. “It showed me how blessed most of us are to be where we are in life”.
Over the last three days, leaders of Coming Out Ministries gave their stories. They shared their scars: from homosexuality, to being transgender. Their message focused on sexual purity and overcoming through the love of God. They wanted everyone to know God can work in you no matter where you are in your walk with Christ. “I was heavily impacted by the openness of the speakers. Their testimonies encouraged me to develop a deeper relationship with God so that when hard times come, I can fall on Him,” shared Madi Jordan.
The end of the week of prayer was closed with Vespers Deluxe which is a special monthly Friday evening worship that is open to the community and includes an afterglow of doughnuts and praise time in the tower. Many students were in tears as they sang, being moved by the Holy Spirit.
Yves Clouzet is the Director of the Music Dept. at Campion Academy. His wife, Melissa Clouzet directs the Mountain Echoes Chorale and Koinonia. Everyone knows about his love and passion for music, but not many know of the struggles he faced with academics and mental health as a college student, and how God helped him to overcome them.
Mr. Clouzet was born in Argentina into a Seventh-day Adventist family. He grew up within a family that was very intentional about family worship at home and going over Sabbath School lessons daily. He knew religion as a way of life for his parents and something that everyone just did normally. His family eventually moved to the United States so that his father could enroll in Andrews University for post-graduate studies.
Mr. Clouzet went to Andrews Academy, where he had many opportunities for spiritual activities and growth. It was during a weekend teen spiritual retreat that Mr. Clouzet was faced with a stark reality. “I vaguely remember who spoke, but he spoke in such a way about Jesus and His Love for me that it convicted me of two things beyond a shadow of a doubt: ‘Jesus really, truly, and passionately Loves ME! I know every fact there was to know about Jesus and His life as written in the Bible, but I don’t truly, really, know-know Him.’” Mr. Clouzet realized that Jesus was everything and that he desperately needed a real relationship with Him.
“During the last meeting that Sabbath evening, the speaker played the final scene from The Visual Bible: Matthew. It is where Jesus gives His ‘Great Commission’ and where the book of Matthew ends. It was such a powerful image of Christ assuring me that He was always going to be with me and that He needed me to tell others about what He has done for me. What a privilege and honor!” That is when Mr. Clouzet, although already baptized several years prior, truly understood what it was to give his whole life to Jesus.
However, when Mr. Clouzet got to college, things began to go downhill. “My mother home-schooled me until I completed the 2nd grade. She really pushed me and I quickly realized that I was able to do things most 3rd graders couldn’t do when I finally joined “real” school. It was like this all the way up to when I graduated from academy. I always felt comfortable in a classroom and never really felt challenged. Sure, I studied for tests and completed assignments, but I don’t remember much anxiety and stress over academics. I can remember that there were a few assignments that great teachers assigned me during my senior year that really pushed me, but I just didn’t complete them because I got too used to not having to work hard. This should have been a warning flag for what was to come for me, but I just ignored it.”
With a perfectionist mindset, coupled with not being fully prepared for the rigors and demands of college, it was a blow mentally for Mr. Clouzet every time he fell short of his own high expectations that he set for himself during his first year of college. He began struggling mentally, which led to a depressive state. At that time, his relationship with Jesus had waned severely. Out of pride and shame, Mr. Clouzet didn’t ask for help from anyone. This went on for several years and this self-destructive cycle had gotten him to the point that he was about to get kicked out of the Education Program at Andrews University.
In a last-gasp effort to help him, the faculty at the Education Program called a meeting with Mr. Clouzet. “All five of my professors at the program were there, and I basically had to make a case for why I still had what it takes to be a great teacher. I gave that speech everything I had, took responsibility for my actions, and let them know I was fully aware that I deserved no second chance. By that point, it was probably a fourth or fifth chance! But I just asked them to take another chance on me and that I would not disappoint them, since I now owed it to not just myself, but to God, them, my family, and Mrs. Clouzet; who was my girlfriend of three years at the time.”
“They asked me to step outside and they talked behind closed doors for what seemed like an eternity. Then they invited me back in and they voted right there in front of me with a raised hand for a yes. Slowly, three hands went up, and to this day I am eternally grateful for those kind teachers who believed in me when no one else would. By the grace of God, I was able to continue in the program. It was by far the most anxiety-filled moment that I have lived through to this day, and I have had to ask Mr. Anderson to marry his daughter! Ha!”
As part of the ultimatum, Mr. Clouzet’s teachers required that he immediately seek mental health therapy with a licensed professional. It was there that he finally began getting the help he needed. He rebooted his prayer life and allowed God to help him surrender the destructive things he was holding on to in his life. Although his family knew there was something wrong, they were able to pray more specifically for his needs once he was willing to admit what he was going through.
God helped him overcome his depression, and a year later Mr. Clouzet successfully graduated from Andrews University. He got married six months after that, and has continued to pursue his career in music education ever since.
Mr. Clouzet explains that he perceives three key factors that helped him turn his life around. “The first one would be the unrelenting prayer warriors in my life. I know for a fact that my mother and father never ceased to pray for me daily, especially when I was traversing through that dark time in my life. God heard their prayers and He was able to steer my life in the right direction. I know for a fact that they still pray for me each and every single day.”
The second factor was getting help from a counselor and opening up to the important people in his life. “Besides their prayers, my parents always supported me and let me know that they would always love me no matter what happened. Mrs. Clouzet, who was my girlfriend at the time, believed in me and stood up for me, despite people in her life telling her that I was a dead-end and that she was wasting her time with me. Those three teachers at Andrews University who believed in me and saw what no one else could see in me. They saw past all my shortcomings and failures, and gave me a chance despite all the evidence stacked against me.
“Finally, the lasting impression of all my spiritual upbringing had a huge influence in the turnaround God orchestrated in my life (pun totally intended). I could never shake the convictions that the Holy Spirit ingrained in my mind during Sabbath School, in Bible class, in youth rallies, during evangelistic series, etc. Those were the convictions that helped me to truly see how God was working in my life; and despite my rebellions and self-destructive tendencies, He never gave up on me and was always willing to help me out.”
“I see students with the same look that I had on my face when I was struggling with mental health; I am more than certain that there are many students who struggle with this on our campus. These individuals need to know that it is more than okay to talk about it with someone you trust and ask for help. I didn’t do this for a long time and it was a self-destructive behavior that I was living with that cost me dearly. I could’ve avoided a lot of pain had I asked for help sooner.”
Yves Clouzet with Bela Cinco
Campion’s journalism class is doing a research series on mental health to bring education and awareness to the impact of mental health issues on their generation. Stayed tuned to read a new article on the topic each week over the next month. We are very grateful to the staff and students who are bravely sharing their experiences. Mental health issues such as discouragement, anxiety, and depression impact everyone in one way or another. Campion Academy’s nurse is a mental health professional and encourages students to seek assistance when needed. The chaplain's office is another source of help for students.
Our mission from God is to make disciples. We are called by Him to share our testimony to people who need to hear it. Throughout the year, students around the campus will share how God has worked miracles in their lives, in hopes of sharing His love to inspire others. We want to remind and show people how real and good God truly is. As you read these, please think of what God has done for you lately. What is at the heart of your story?
The first story comes from someone who would like to remain anonymous:
“For me, coming to Campion was hard. My whole life, I was always transferring schools, and I should have been used to it, but this time was different. Growing up, I didn’t have much of a choice of whether or not I had to change schools. I wasn’t very close to my family, let alone my brother. Aside from small talk and dinner conversation, I hadn’t talked to my brother for about six years straight. Besides the fact that my family was financially unstable, my family wanted me to come to Campion to experience a better life. Because I had moved so much, I was tired of meeting new people. I was never able to grow close to them, and they would often times forget about me. So I thought if I went to Campion I would have to experience it once again. But one friend changed it for me. My good ol’ roommate. My companion. My grapefruit (this is a hint so you should know who you are once you read this). She is the reason I can finally smile and forget the bad days I had. She helped me shape who I am today. God put her in my life to help me be able to start over with my family. I didn’t think I could be so close with someone, but I see God in her. With her help, I was able to finally talk to my brother, and we are closer than we have ever been. I am extremely grateful that God put the realest people in my life that I can lean on despite everything.”
Edited by Adrianna Campbell, Senior, Student Editor
Naomi Boonstra, an incoming senior at Campion, shares her experience of spending the summer on the Literature Evangelism team with Pastor Matt Hasty.
On August 6, I said goodbye to my summer colporteuring Youth Rush team. For ten weeks, we woke up together, had devotions surrounded by each other, ate breakfast together, had worship together, and then went door-to-door distributing Adventist literature for donations for our school scholarships. This was my third summer doing this, and each time I leave in absolute awe of how God has used us to grow each other and to turn cities upside down.
When you spend a summer doing ministry, the people who are becoming your family are also falling in love with God every day. When I’m surrounded by my Youth Rush team, no matter how imperfect we've been towards each other, I feel like I’m being held up by God’s perfection, and I’m completely at peace. All the floors we slept on, all the vans we drove, and all the doors we knocked on were absolutely filled with the love of God radiating off of this little group of missionaries.
As colporteurs, we talk about how at doors we knock on, we might be the only glimpse of Jesus that someone ever sees. Even if they slam the door on me, my smile might be the only Godly thing someone ever does for them. Going door-to-door, I had to carry myself in such a way that even just a cookbook sale could be a divine experience for someone. Letting God show His love though me has taught me more about its depth than I could’ve imagined when I was first handed an application to give my summer to ministry. Being asked to show God’s character has forced me to completely die to self every morning before I go out, which is something that I now can carry into an everyday ministry.
Naomi Boonstra, Senior at Campion
Many guests arrived this weekend, January 20-21, at Campion Church eager to be inspired by the iMPACT young adult rally. The rally, organized by a group led by Campion Academy’s recruiter, Jessica Rios, invited young adults from all over the Rocky Mountain Conference to come and learn the divine tactics of reaching out to the community and fulfilling the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist church.
The aim of iMPACT is to teach young people to be motivated to find their purpose in life and stand firmly in their faith to share the gospel throughout all the world.
The weekend event was launched with a hard-hitting introduction by humble and powerful evangelist, Taj Pacleb. Throughout the weekend were a variety of seminars lead by other well-known pastors like Daniel Birai of the Fort Collins church and Micheal Goetz from our own Campion church.
iMPACT highlights the reason we are all here, and why it is time to go home. Cassie Carr, a senior, attended all the meetings led by Pacleb in which she learned that “Anyone and everyone can be a missionary for Christ. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you make yourself available to God, He will transform you to be whoever you need to be to reach out to a person. He makes us qualified."
Another senior, Natalie Boonstra relates to this when she reflects on a testimony Pacleb shared of a lost friend. “It was encouraging to know that even the most on-fire people slip up, and God uses us to minister to them,” she says.
Celine Lumowa is a senior at Campion Academy
Campion Church and Campion Academy are working together to “Encourage the growth of a generation that knows how to connect with a local church, become involved, and join in the mission,” as explained by Campion chaplain Rob Carlson.
The church encourages students to be involved throughout the year by identifying at least 10 possibilities for church participation. They’ve provided students with contact information for church members who can get them involved in everything from greeting, to music, to ushering, to welcoming families with the parking team. (The freshmen parking ministry greets and directs new visitors, helps carry potluck food, and provides umbrellas when needed.) “I love this church. They let us be involved,” says senior Celine Lumowa, who leads one of the praise teams for the academy’s weekly chapels and vespers. She helps with the church praise teams, too.
“It’s exciting to be somewhere where there’s a desire for the church and school to work together,” says Carlson. He works with the spiritual life committee, made up of the school principals from Campion and HMS, church pastors, and Bible teachers, who meet together once a month to vision and implement the spiritual goals on Campion’s campus. Together, they have focused on how to provide opportunities for students to get involved in church and other spiritual activities.
On the academy campus, students attend chapel, vespers, and Sparks each week. Sparks is a student-led, co-ed evening worship usually featuring testimonies given by students. Not only do students get a chance to share at Sparks, they’re in charge of planning it, too.
An additional gathering called Fusion meets once a week to provide students the chance to pursue a particular topic of study, whether it’s learning about spiritual disciplines, reading Beautiful Outlaw, practicing sermons, or learning about time management and devotions from church members Sandy Eickmann and Dick Stenbakken.
“The biggest thing right now is Fusion,” says student chaplain Diana Miranda. Over the last three weeks, her Fusion group has been reading through Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge. “It was a really nice time to read about who God is and have teenagers interested in a book that is understandable.”
Perhaps more than anything, Carlson is excited about the teamwork involved in leading students to know Christ. Not only are adult leaders involved, but many students—the dorm chaplains, class pastors, and others—meet for supper once a week to discuss ministry. “We talk about what we struggle with, what we want to change, and what awesome spiritual things are happening in the student body,” says senior Celine Lumowa. No one has to struggle to lead alone, they are joined by a team passionate about helping others in their Christian walk.
Jenny Sigler teaches English at Campion Academy
“God works with people, and He molds people, and He fixes people.” Last night Chezney Barry, a senior, shared a message concerning health. She started off by pointing out that sometimes we think that being healthy is on a checklist of requirements to get to heaven. It’s not. God encourages us to be healthy because “we are God’s masterpiece,” and he wants the best for us.
“How we take care of our body,” Chezney says, “relates directly to how we think.” God wants us to have clear minds because He loves us. He isn’t trying to take the fun out of eating or put us behind bars by restricting us.
Chezney introduced the second part of her sermon by pointing to Ephesians 5:18, which states, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” She told us of how, when she was six, she was in a car accident involving her mom and brother when her mom was under the influence. Addiction is something we link to drinking and drugs, but addiction to things like sugar and caffeine are just as real.
She finished by reminding us that God looks at all sin equally, and addiction to unhealthy food is something we need to own up to and take charge of.
For someone who was joking around earlier that evening about how unhealthy I was, Chezney’s sermon put me to shame. Health isn’t something that we should just be obligated to watch. It’s a gift of will. I’m young, so I can’t see the effects now, but I know they’ll come around. I’m glad that God gave Chezney the words to take off my rose-tinted glasses and view my health in a new light.
Cassie Fazio is a senior at Campion Academy