KETCHUM, OKLA – Early in the school year I was sitting in the classroom at Ketchum Adventist Academy (KAA), frustrated with our students’ computers that no longer worked with any of the new required education programs.
One of the North American Division (NAD) education department’s requirements is a new style of testing called the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) testing. It tests students at the beginning, the middle and the end of the school year to determine their progress.
MAP testing is a wonderful way to review students’ progress and address any weaknesses, but there was one big problem: our desktop computers were 12 years old and would not work with the tests. Desperate, I emailed the Oklahoma Conference about KAA’s dilemma. In the meantime, I prayed.
As a teacher in a small, multi-grade school for 30 years, there are many different jobs to juggle, but it is worth it. Teaching at KAA has stayed deep inside my heart. I knew this school needed more help to keep everything special and running smoothly for our students. Then one day, after my email and many, many fervent prayers, I received a phone call that began a series of blessings.
Our conference president, James Shires, and the conference officers responded to my email and noted that KAA has several non-Adventist, Native American students. The conference’s Native Ministries department arranged for KAA to receive new Apple laptop computers, and the ministry also purchased software subscriptions for a period of five years.
KAA was also provided additional funding to support the quality of education for our Native American students. Because of these funds, KAA students will have the technology necessary if we need to switch to distance learning at any time.
Although some students have received scholarships through donors via the Opportunity Scholarship Fund (osfkids.org), the scholarships cannot be used for technology. And although some of our students are not members of our church, their parents wanted their children to go to a school that would teach them about Jesus; KAA gives their children that extra-special knowledge. A few of our families have even requested Bible studies.
Recently Oklahoma’s Native Ministries Director Jim Landelius visited KAA to have worship and deliver the computers to our excited students. We are beyond thankful to our donors. Native people were forced onto reservations and left to struggle alone, but God didn’t forget them, and Oklahoma Native Ministries (NativeMinistries.org) did not forget about their children at KAA.
With this donation, we are reminded about how fortunate we are to live in Oklahoma with one of the highest ratios of Native Americans in any state in the country.
We are now studying Oklahoma’s Native Americans, and for worship, we are reading Swift Arrow by Josephine Cunnington Edwards. Her thoughtful story is about a young boy who was captured but carefully raised for 12 years by Native Americans in Pennsylvania during the 1700s.
We may never know how many seeds are planted for Jesus just by keeping our church schools open, sharing God’s messages of love, forgiveness and a future that is shaped by His hand.
I praise God for the gifts from Native Ministries and for our KAA students who make coming to work every day a blessing.
By Damien Toews