Going to Peru was everything and more I wished to have on a mission trip. On my previous two mission trips I never felt like I really truly helped anyone, but going to Peru changed that. We did construction, deconstruction, Vacation Bible School (VBS), and dental work. On previous mission trips all we did was construction. The whole experience was amazing, but it was the dental and VBS that really opened my eyes to the compassion and kindness possible through the little things.
When I signed up for VBS I thought I was just signing up for arts and crafts. When I got to Peru though I was told I was doing drama. I hate being up front, whether I have to speak or not. Thankfully in drama I was merely an actor portraying the narrator’s story. I was pretty nervous my first day but it got so easy once I saw the kids. They were so excited and attentive to watch us act. They didn't care whether I messed up or not; they were ready to be entertained. Watching the kids’ faces light up as we acted out Bible stories was a blessing all in itself.
My favorite moment of VBS though was during arts and crafts, when we would all sit on the ground and help the kids color. I was helping a little girl and her brother Cade glue cotton balls onto a cut-out cloud. He didn't speak any English and I had already used up all the Spanish I knew. We stared at each other somewhat lost and I could tell he was becoming bored. I grabbed a fluffy cotton ball and tossed it at the little boy. We literally sat there the next 10-15 minutes just throwing cotton balls back and forth between each other. I was amazed we were able to laugh so much and connect over something so simple. We couldn't talk to each other but I was able to create a memory that will forever be in my heart.
Cadence Wright is a senior at Campion Academy.
Mr. Kast, seven students and I recently returned from 3 weeks in Zambia as part of Give Back to Humanity.
Our trip went way faster than I had hoped. The first few days were spent praying hard and trying to get our whole group together due to travel complications. God was leading us the whole time and once we all finally arrived in Lusaka safely we were then able to head out to our final destination in Mansa, Zambia.
We went to Campion's sister school, Fordina Pandeli Secondary School, where we got to stay with the students for a week, sleeping in the dorms, doing construction on their campus and ending each night with a week of prayer meeting. We now have many lifelong friends from across the globe. I can't wait for Jesus to come back and we'll be reunited.
The next week was spent in Livingstone where we got the full African experience--walking with lions and tigers, visiting water falls, going on safaris and getting little glimpses of heaven wherever we went.
To top off our mission trip we had a 20 hour layover in Dubai where we saw a whole new side of this world we live in. Going up the Burj Kalifa and walking around in the biggest mall in the world was insane, something I still can't wrap my mind around. We saw two completely different extremes going from Zambia to Dubai.
There was never a dull moment, always something to look forward to and always a new way for us to share Jesus' love.
Rayna Williams is a senior at Campion Academy
photos by Kent Kast, science teacher at Campion Academy
See more photos and trip updates on the Zambia Mission Trip Facebook page.
On Saturday night, May 21, 2016 at the annual awards program, Campion Academy recognized its 9 international students from 5 different countries (China, Japan, Nepal, South Korea, and Taiwan.) The international students were reminded, “At Campion Academy, we are a family. We want to make sure that you know that we consider you a part of our family, and we are so glad that you are with us!”
For the past 4 years, I have represented Campion Academy internationally by making 4 separate trips to South Korea and China with the intent of developing relationships with students, parents, and agents from those parts of the world. As a school we are developing an intentional international program to bring other students from around the world to our campus. We currently have 2 ELL (English Language Learner) staff members who are developing a strong program to support the international students, most of whom are coming to learn English.
In short there are 3 main reasons why we are actively developing this program:
1. An increased enrollment, which helps the financial aspect of the school.
2. An evangelistic effort to bring non Seventh-day Adventist students, and in many cases, non-Christian students, to our campus for 1 to 4 years, where they are daily exposed to Seventh-day Adventist beliefs and worship opportunities. A number of international students in the past have been baptized and go on to attend Seventh-day Adventist colleges and universities. This is fulfilling one of the missions of our church and school to “go into all the world … “
3. An opportunity for our U.S. students to learn about other cultures and interact with other students from around the world.
On a Campion Academy sponsored trip during the summer of 2015, Campion ELL teacher, Patricia Torres and her husband, Mike, along with Chezney Barry (now current senior) and Gaby Joya (Campion graduate in May 2015) were able to go to China for nearly 3 weeks to experience the Chinese culture first-hand. While there, they were hosted by Shijiazhuang No. 24 High School, which has expressed interest in becoming a “sister-school” to Campion Academy. In addition to sightseeing opportunities, they lived, socialized, attended classes and made many friends with the local Chinese students. Mrs. Torres was also able to teach a number of specialty classes throughout their visit.
Chezney loved it and didn’t want to leave, but realized she needed to return to finish high school. However, Gaby Joya, who had just graduated from Campion a week before leaving for China, liked it so much that she decided to stay and continue her education there!
Gaby recently told me, “My experience in China has been life changing. It has opened my eyes how God has a specific plan for each and every one of us. I never would have thought I would ever go to China, let alone live and go to school here. My experience has been a great blessing, and a true testimony. I believe God has been planning this for a while. Every little detail was taken care of and I'm truly in awe. It has now been a year since I came, and my experience has been truly amazing. I have amazing Chinese parents whom I love and am truly grateful for. I get to help send students to Christian schools, and I get to learn and experience the Chinese culture. I believe God has a plan for everyone … we just need to say, yes.”
During my recent visit to China in March 2016, I was able to spend 2 days with Gaby and her Adventist host family and saw a spark in her eyes that was truly inspiring. Gaby has been studying Chinese for this past year and has been recently accepted into a leading business school in Shanghai. She plans to major in international business.
Plans are in the initial stages to send another group of Campion students to China in the summer of 2017 so that they too can be exposed to the same type of experiences that Chezney and Gaby enjoyed and are continuing to experience. Until then we will continue bringing other cultures to our campus to share with our students.
Dean Helm is the V.P of Finance at Campion Academy
“It was a blast!” says Campion Academy sophomore Janeline Kindangen after returning from a 5-day trip to Moab, Utah. She and the rest of the sophomore class traveled with biology teacher Cindy Santana on a field trip they’ll never forget.
The annual Moab trip brings all of Mrs. Santana’s classes together: earth science, biology, and world history. Students review the flora and fauna of the Moab desert during the long bus ride. Once there, they chart various plants for identification and then mount, identify, and describe one flowering plant of their choice for the Campion Herbarium, a collection of plants from the area. “We got to learn about plants, but we got to experience Moab, too,” adds Janeline.
Students view geological formations and learn about the development of arches in Arches National Park, and they see the history of the Ancestral Puebloans as they tour cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park.
Cindy Santana sees this trip as a chance to “connect the classroom learning with the real world. The textbook learning shouldn’t happen in a vacuum,” she says. In Moab, students achieved exactly that as they experienced God’s creation first hand.
After several days of camping, hiking, river rafting, and cliff jumping, the sophomores bonded with their class and had an unforgettable learning experience. Sophomore Damarys Nieto says cliff jumping in Mill Creek was her favorite part of the trip. She also liked hiking in Arches National Park. “It was a hard hike to see Delicate Arch, but it was worth it because the arch was really pretty,” she says.
Students from previous Moab trips still come back to Mrs. Santana and tell her they can never look at rocks and flowers the same way again. That’s what real-world learning does!
photos: Alex Fazio and Cindy Santana
During April home leave, the senior class of 2016 experienced the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The group enjoyed many activities including snorkeling, hiking, and learning about Hawaiian culture. They stayed in cabins at Camp Waianae, the Seventh-day Adventist summer camp on the island. “Having the Hawaii Adventist summer camp as our “home base” not only made the trip possible, but it was a beautiful setting where we could relax and get away from the busyness of all of the other tourists on the island,” explained class sponsor Dean Helm. Breakfast was made at camp, followed by a worship thought given by a different senior each day.
A class favorite was the day spent at Pearl Harbor, visiting the USS Arizona Memorial and the Bowfin submarine. Senior Wesley Carle says, “It was cool being able to see the memories of what happened and memorials of the people lost.” Visiting the USS Arizona Memorial was a solemn experience as the seniors observed the sunken ship and read the names of those who lost their lives that horrible day in our country’s history. The seniors were also privileged to be able to explore the Bowfin submarine and imagine what life would be like living in those cramped quarters for months at a time.
Another favorite activity was snorkeling in Turtle Canyon, and just as the name implies, the class was able to swim with sea turtles along with lots of fish. After they finished snorkeling, the guide took the group on a boat ride farther out from shore to experience the ocean in a different way.
But more than the fact that Hawaii was full of fun activities and beautiful landscapes for the class to enjoy, they loved being together and making even more memories to keep even though they will soon be separated. As stated by class President, Gabrielle Williams, “Hawaii was a really great way to end our high school experience, surrounded by people we spent it with and love.” While the seniors still have a few weeks until graduation, they continue to make memories with their fellow classmates and push on toward reaching the ultimate goal: spending eternity with Jesus and the rest of their class in heaven, a paradise that will far surpass Hawaii or anything we can imagine.
Rachel Hammond and Kyle Rushold are both seniors at Campion Academy.
By Gabrielle Williams and Jennifer Sigler
Over spring break, 37 volunteers from Campion Academy and Wichita Adventist Christian Academy flew to Belize to serve the campus of Belize Adventist Junior College (BAJC) in Calcutta, where they’ve been visiting annually for over ten years. Mission groups to BAJC usually focus on a construction project and Vacation Bible School meetings. This year, led by Jim Lynch, the group made immense progress on the library, a project begun several years ago, and on week nights they hosted games, crafts, story time, and singing for kids of all ages. On the last weekend, they passed out shoes and clothes to a local village.
“When we give of ourselves, we end up receiving more than we could have ever imagined. We experience pure joy and peace. Helping others is one of the greatest callings that Jesus gives us,” said Campion senior Gabrielle Williams, who went to Belize for the second time. “It is more blessed to give than to receive; however, what you do receive when you give is an unexplainable joy that only Jesus can give,” she added.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).
Slideshow by Leslie Bergmann