25 Apr


Pedro Vieira – Loveland, Colorado … The Campion Academy in Loveland, Colorado, Senior Class of 2024 had their last big adventure together in Florida, relaxing on the beach, exploring amusement parks, and eating at excellent restaurants, April 16-22.

On April 16, the senior students had to wake up at 3:00 a.m. to load the bus and go to the airport for a flight to Tampa, Florida. Although it was early, they were very excited to spend time together and ready to have a lot of fun.

Once they arrived in Tampa, they settled into the two houses they had rented part way between Tampa and Orlando. The students enjoyed relaxing or swimming in the house’s pool.

Daytona Beach, Florida, was the first place scheduled for the seniors on April 17. With such a beautiful view of the ocean and good weather, they could enjoy the beach and some attractions like the fastest slingshot in the world. After Daytona Beach, the seniors went to Hibachi grill and buffet, an Asian restaurant where they could end their day with good food. They ended the day having worship together outside.

Eriane Saraiva, Campion senior student, shared, “I loved how beautiful Daytona Beach is. The weather was so good and that made the first day of senior trip amazing. The slingshot scared me a little bit, but it was something that I’ll never forget. Also, the place we went to eat Asian food was very good; I loved it.”

The seniors headed to Universal Studios where they got to experience one of the most popular theme parks in the world, April 18. After they were exhausted from walking the whole day, they got to try some of the Brazilian food at the Cafe Mineiro Buffet.

“I would definitely love to say that one of my favorite things that we did as a group was go to this Brazilian restaurant and eat amazing food that I had never tasted before! I would definitely eat there again,” Sujamis Colmenares added.

On April 20, to take a Sabbath day to rest in nature, the students went to Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin, Florida, where they reserved a picnic area to have worship with a sermon provided by student Andrew Kramer. After worship, students swam and relaxed on the sand.

In the evening, the students got to watch a beautiful performance at Disney Springs: Cirque du Solei. Ekenna Nwankwo, student, shared, “Honeymoon Island was nice, despite the mosquitos. It was very relaxing, and the beach was beautiful. It was a great way to spend the Sabbath. Also, Cirque du Solei was very exciting; I loved it.”

The students went on a cruise on the boat “Calypso Queen” on April 21, as a class and explored a little bit of Clear Water Beach in the city of Clearwater, Florida.

“Senior trip was something I had been counting down to ever since I was a freshman. When it was finally here, I was super excited. I loved every single thing we did,” student Natalya Razafinddrabe shared.

—Pedro Vieira is Campion Academy Student News Team. Photos supplied.

25 Apr


Brent Learned – Greeley, Colorado … More than 1,000 pathfinders traveled to Greeley, Colorado, to participate in the North American Division (NAD) level Pathfinder Bible Experience (PBE) event, April 19-20. The event proceeded in four languages—English, Spanish, French, and Ukrainian—as all 150 pathfinder teams were from the United States, Canada, and Ukraine as well as a couple of other international teams joining remotely via Zoom.

Over 40 Pathfinder and Adventurer leaders and teens from the Rocky Mountain Conference (RMC) volunteered to setup chairs and tables, direct and park vehicle traffic, create and place all event signage, run the first aid station, and start the testing portion of the event with color guard and drum corp.

Yamiley Gonzalez, who is a Pathfinder teen leader in training, commented, “It was an exhilarating experience watching so many pathfinders from the NAD conferences coming together at PBE in Greeley. I believe the Pathfinders realized that they were there not only to compete, but to learn more about Jesus and to make lifetime memories.”

“It amazed me that these young people had so much passion and excitement to learn more about the Bible every day,” she continued. “As I was looking into the crowd of Pathfinders and Seventh-day Adventist leaders all wearing the same uniform, I saw the Pathfinders looking up to the adults in the room and seeing themselves doing the same thing when they are older. The Pathfinders felt seen by the people there. Everything on PBE day was [there] for the kids.”

The weekend started the evening of April 19 with a lively worship followed by RMC youth director Brandon Westgate who spoke on the anointing of Samuel and David as young Pathfinder-age kids and continuing to walk out the Holy Spirit’s calling for the rest of their lives. Westgate ended the evening with an alter call inviting everyone to the front who had not yet received the Holy Spirit and would like to. He then prayed over all those who came to the front that they would receive the Holy Spirit and walk in truth the rest of their lives.

RMC volunteers started Sabbath morning, April 20, early at 7:00 a.m. by parking cars and providing security at the Island Grove Event Center in Greeley where the PBE event was being held. The parking lot was covered in three inches of fresh snow.

Cyndi Tapia, Pathfinder club director of the Greeley Hispanic Seventh-day Adventist Church Pathfinder club in Greeley, remarked, “Being a part of the NAD PBE was an interesting experience! I had the opportunity to meet people from all over the North American Division. Being a volunteer was a lot of work, especially at lunch time, but it was an insightful experience as to how a great team can help an event of this size run smoothly. Congratulations to all the pathfinder teams who made it to the final!”

The PBE testing program began with the RMC Ghana Golden Eagles drum corps and Loveland Cougars color guard Pathfinder clubs putting on a great performance, proudly displaying their abilities.

Each team answered 90 questions from the Bible books of Joshua and Judges. Following a break for lunch, nearly 3,000 Pathfinders, Pathfinder leaders, and family gathered for an afternoon church worship service while the scores were tabulated. Afterwards, the teams marched across the stage one by one receiving either a first, second, or third place award based on how many questions they answered correctly during testing.

RMC’s Loveland Cougars Pathfinder team proudly scored a first-place award! Stacey Rodriguez, a Loveland Cougar Pathfinder team member, commented, “It was such a great experience for Loveland Cougars to be able to be a part of PBE this year. We learned so much through the books of Joshua and Judges. Our team was honored to represent our Conference and be the color guard.”

Mic Thurber, RMC president and one of the PBE judges, said, “It was a marvelous thing to see a whole sea of beautiful young faces at the Pathfinder Bible Experience who were there ready to be tested on their knowledge of the books of Joshua and Judges! Their energy, lively spirits, and passion for God’s Word was a true inspiration to behold. In addition to the hundreds present, there were teams from the United Kingdom and Cuba participating by zoom. I hope this experience of investing so deeply in the word will make a lifelong difference in the lives of our young people.”

RMC club ministries director Brent Learned, remarked, “Thank you to all those within our Conference who value our young people and have dedicated countless hours to mentoring the next generation of our church’s spiritual leaders through Pathfinder and Adventurer ministry.”

—Brent Learned is the RMC assistant youth director and Mills Spring Ranch manager. Photos supplied.

24 Apr


Liz Kirkland – Denver, Colorado … Twelve pastoral couples attended the Rocky Mountain Conference (RMC) Pastor’s Marriage Retreat at Glacier View Ranch (GVR) in Ward, Colorado, April 5-6. This was the first time the retreat has been held since August of 2019.

The retreat was open to all RMC pastoral couples and featured former-pastor and guest speaker, Mike Tucker. Tucker’s program “Mad About Marriage” explored the marriage relationship and provided practical tips for improving a marriage.

“I think the presentations were very well done, encouraging, helping us to realize how we could be marriage partners,” explained Mickey Mallory, RMC Ministerial director.

“My wife and I had one of the most special Sabbaths of this 2024. The weather was amazing but the speaker and the spirit we share with colleagues and their spouses were more than amazing. Thank you, Pastor Mickey, for bringing us together; we can’t wait for the next one,” shared Jose David Rodriguez, lead pastor of the Boulder Hispanic, Brighton Hispanic, and El Refugio Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Boulder, Brighton, and Aurora, Colorado, respectively.

The retreat was expected to run until April 7, but was cut short by one evening due to the loss of power at GVR. A windstorm with damaging wind gusts ranging from 70-95 miles per hour hit the mountains and the north central Front Range in Colorado. Even with the reduced schedule, the retreat was still beneficial for the attendees.

Mark Phillips, lead pastor at Piñon Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church in Farmington, New Mexico, commented, “I just wanted to say a big thank you to the leadership of RMC for all the support they give to the pastors. Your mentoring and retreats are a real blessing. It is a privilege and honor to serve our Lord and Savior along with you all. Thank you for your investment in time and money to help us be the best that we can be.”

Lucas Lujan, head pastor at Colorado Springs South and Woodland Park Seventh-day Adventist Church in Colorado Springs and Woodland Park, Colorado, respectively, furthered that sentiment: “[It is] awesome to know how much the Conference leadership cares about our marriages and family relationships. They poured into us so we can pour into others!”

“Thank you for providing an opportunity for my wife and I to participate in this marriage retreat,” remarked Michael Shannon, lead pastor at the Greeley Seventh-day Adventist Church in Greeley, Colorado. “It has been a real blessing for us.”

He continued, “By sponsoring these types of events, the Rocky Mountain Conference and the Ministerial Department demonstrate that they truly care about the pastors and their families. It is easy to say, ‘we will pray for you and your family,’ but here, true concern is demonstrated with time, money, and effort. We had a wonderful time and learned a lot. I hope in the future that we can have the opportunity to participate in more events like this.”

—Liz Kirkland is the RMC communication assistant. Photos by Mickey Mallory.

24 Apr


Karrie Meyers – Highlands Ranch, Colorado … The Mile High Academy (MHA) advanced robotics team, the Robostangs, displayed exceptional skill and innovation at the FIRST Tech Challenge held in Orlando, Florida, April 14. Competing among 13 teams from across the United States, the team demonstrated outstanding performance, securing multiple awards and accolades, including the Inspire Award.

The journey began on April 13, as the team arrived at the Forest Lake Academy campus in Apopka, Florida, unpacked, settled in, worked on their robot, and enjoyed dinner together. Witnessing the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket unexpectedly added to their excitement, setting the stage for an inspiring weekend. Saturday was spent at church followed by team bonding at the beach, preparing them for the main event on April 14.

Amidst fierce competition, the Robostangs emerged victorious, clinching three prestigious awards:

  • Inspire Award – First Place: Recognizing the team’s embodiment of the challenges of the FIRST Tech Challenge program, their role as ambassadors for FIRST programs, and their commitment to Gracious Professionalism® both on and off the playing field. This award acknowledges the team’s exceptional performance in robot design, community engagement, and professionalism.
  • Willing Alliance – First Team Selected: Teaming up with Wait4iT from Adventist Christian Academy of Raleigh, North Carolina, the Robostangs excelled as part of the winning alliance in the final match, demonstrating strategic collaboration and teamwork.
  • Innovate Award Sponsored by RTX – Second Place: Celebrating the team’s imaginative thinking, ingenuity, and creativity in bringing their robot designs to life. This award acknowledges the team’s innovative approach to solving specific components of the FIRST Tech Challenge game, emphasizing elegant design, robustness, and ‘out of the box’ thinking.

“I am incredibly proud of our accomplishments over the whole season,” said Adelaide Eno, MHA junior. “I think the culmination of those efforts took the form of our Inspire award. The award spoke for the late nights and the early mornings, and the boundaries we broke in order to push ourselves to be our best.”

She continued, “At the end of the day, it’s just a trophy on a shelf, but it helps remind me about the commitment I have made to my team and how much of a commitment they have made to me.”

After the intense competition, the Robostangs unwound with a visit to Magic Kingdom, April 15, fostering camaraderie and team spirit before returning home to Mile High Academy the next day.

Continuing their commitment to community engagement, on April 17, the team demonstrated their robot and answered questions about its functionality at the Highlands Ranch Library in the Town Center.

When asked for advice to incoming robotics teammates, Danny Luna, MHA sophomore, said to remember that “being part of the robotics team is a growing experience. It really builds your perseverance, having to fail and fix, fail and fix.”

This year there were three MHA seniors who were on the trip. Eno was in a unique position this year as her brother, Seth, was also on the team. “I watched him learn Java just to make the best code he could, and I watched him stay up until 10:00 p.m. some nights at the school with [seniors] Jonas and Daniela to finish the robot. I’m so grateful for how hard they work, and I’m so grateful that they are still working hard now to make sure that we are set for next year, so that we can continue where they left off.”

The Robostang’s performance not only exemplifies the school’s dedication to STEM education and their commitment to inspiring future generations of innovators but is also inspired by the vision of Adventist Robotics.

“I want to thank Adventist Robotics for creating a space where we can showcase our skills in a way that is competitive and fun,” said Luna.

Ridge Tull, who has taught both of MHA’s beginning and advanced robotics classes for the past two years, expressed his pride in the team’s achievements. “Our team not only proved themselves during the competition but also have left an impression on the community through their outreach and teamwork this school year. They continue to inspire and pave the way for future innovators. I look forward to watching them continue their journey, applying the valuable life lessons they learn through discovery and exploration.”

—Karrie Meyers is the marketing and development coordinator at Mile High Academy. Photos supplied.

24 Apr


Eva Resz – Loveland, Colorado … The select choir, Koinonia, at Campion Academy in Loveland, Colorado, traveled to the Colorado Indonesian-American Seventh-day Adventist Church (CIASDAC) in Denver, Colorado, April 13 to lead out in the service and perform several special songs for a Students with a Testimony (SWAT) trip.

This SWAT trip was special for Mabel Cabandon, Campion Academy senior, who grew up attending CIASDAC. “It was super cool being a part of the service in a church that was so influential in my childhood,” Cabandon explained. “Most of the Indos that come to Campion grew up with each other in this church, so it was really special being able to perform with them.”

Indonesian students from the Denver area make up make up about 12% of Campion’s student population, a significant portion of the very diverse student body. In general, Campion Academy Indonesian students are well-known for their talents in singing, as 40% of Koinonia members are of Indonesian descent.

After traveling about an hour to Denver, the Koinonia choir group was greeted by the church members who led them downstairs to a breakfast feast. After breakfast, the group was able to experience an Indonesian service before they led out in the second service that is provided in English.

The Koinonia choir group opened with praise songs, followed by a call to offering and then children’s story given by Toby Quillin, a junior at Campion Academy. Quillin reflected, “My children’s story was about different types of feathers and how they work together to make one bird. In music, we must work together to make one song. I hoped to demonstrate that the most important thing in any group isn’t how good you sound individually, but how you work together.”

The service was centered around music with the intention of giving the audience a “glimpse of heaven,” according to Cecilia Simmons, Campion Academy’s music director. The choir performed a large selection of songs that the group had prepared. Between songs, students shared stories, scripture, and prayer.

Following the service the students joined the congregation for food and fellowship. Dominic White, Campion Academy senior, expressed, “This was my first time trying Indonesian food. It was delicious, absolutely exquisite, and they offered us both breakfast and lunch!”

—Eva Resz, Campion Academy Student News Team. Photos supplied.

23 Apr


Linda Jackson and Kathy Guagliardo – Pueblo, Colorado …  Pueblo First Seventh-day Adventist Church in Pueblo, Colorado, hosted a medical and health ministry weekend led by David and Sylvia Nicodemus, April 12-14. David and Sylvia completed five months of training in 2022 in the Medical Missionary Evangelism Program at Eden Valley Institute of Wellness* in Loveland, Colorado. Since that time, they have been traveling to Texas, Georgia, Colorado, and New Mexico to spread the message related to Medical Missionary work.

The weekend had been postponed a couple of times, but “God prevailed at just the right time.” They became grandparents to a baby girl and would be able to see her before heading home.

On April 12, David and Syliva began their presentation discussing the NEWSTART lifestyle-change program and why it has become essential in recent days. They explored all the letters: Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunshine, Temperance, Air, Rest, and Trust in God. Around 20 individuals were in attendance.

The April 13 Sabbath morning’s Divine Service message focused on the transformation of the mind and body through healthful living and the teachings of the Three Angels’ Messages. David shared a message from Ellen G. White:

“Medical missionary work is the right hand of the gospel. It is necessary to the advancement of the cause of God. As through it men and women are led to see the importance of right habits of living, the saving power of the truth will be made known. Every city is to be entered by workers trained to do medical missionary work. As the right hand of the third angel’s message, God’s methods of treating disease will open doors for the entrance of present truth.” (Testimonies for the Church vol. 7:59.1).

The afternoon continued with learning home remedies such as poultices, the use of essential oils, how to do chair massages, and hydrotherapy. Around 30 individuals were in attendance for this program. If you remember reading in your Bible about Jesus applying clay to the blind man from birth in John 9:6-7 (NKJV), Jesus spat on the ground and made clay with His saliva. He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and the man came back to sight after washing his eyes.

One participant applied a ginger poultice to her right hand for hand pain that afternoon and stated the next morning that, “When the poultice was removed, the hand pain was gone.”

David and Sylvia presented a cooking demonstration to the 23 participants of Granola, Tofu scramble, BBQ tofu, and Chai pudding, which were sampled and enjoyed, April 14.

* Please note that Eden Valley Institute of Wellness is not affiliated with the Rocky Mountain Conference (RMC) nor the Seventh-day Adventist denomination.

—Linda Jackson is the outreach coordinator and Kathy Guagliardo is the outreach director at Pueblo First Seventh-day Adventist Church. Photos by Kathy Guagliardo.

11 Apr


Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado … While the wind howled and the power was out throughout the region, hundreds gathered in the dimly lit Campion Academy gymnasium in Loveland, Colorado, to hear the final concert of the Rocky Mountain Music Festival, April 6.

Around 130 middle grade students from 12 Adventist schools and homeschool programs from across Colorado and Kansas came to participate in the festival featuring choir and orchestra performances.

Cecilia Simmons, Campion Academy music director, was the primary organizer of the event as well as the orchestra conductor. Guest clinician LeeAnna McMullen, an opera performer, pianist, and vocal educator with over 25 years of experience, led the students in choir.

Lola, a sixth-grade student at HMS Richards Adventist School in Loveland, Colorado, shared her experience participating at the festival: “I think she [McMullen] really knew what she was doing, and she was really fit for that job. I liked it that all the schools came together to sing. It sounded really pretty, and it gives more diversity to help us prepare for heaven.”

The festival kicked off on Friday morning with the participants spending about six hours rehearsing their pieces in groups. Campion Academy’s select choir and orchestra students spent the day practicing and mentoring the younger students.

Toby Quillin, currently Campion junior student and a member of Koinonia, has been attending the RMC Music Festival every year since he was in middle school. Quillin reflected, “When I was younger attending Music Fest, I remember looking up and listening to the high schoolers singing and trying to follow them, and now I am one of the ones that the children listened to. It was interesting and fun to work with the kids around me.”

In between afternoon rehearsals, the students were able to attend breakout sessions such as soccer, gymnastics, games, and art.

Friday evening, the Campion Academy Music Department along with Mile High Academy’s middle school choir, performed for a vespers concert in the Campion Seventh-day Adventist Church in Loveland, Colorado.

The festival choir and orchestra performed a few selections for the church Sabbath service, but their main performance was at 7:00 p.m. in the Campion Academy gym. A few hours before the students were set to perform, the power company turned off all electricity to many areas of the Front Range including Campion’s campus. There was concern over the fire danger due to downed power lines from the high winds that were predicted to continue to increase overnight.

Campion staff members and volunteers scrambled to gather generators for the kitchen crew to provide the evening meal, as well as some light and power to the sound system in the gym. Despite the outage, all of the participants were well fed, and the show went on.

Simmons recalled, “The second my phone started ringing off the hook, I knew something was wrong. No power! How on earth were we going to perform in the cold and in the dark!”

“I called the clinician and the first words out of her mouth were, ‘We’re not going to let the devil win.’ From that moment on, it was on! Students excitedly brought their personal headlamps along with extras for anyone who might have needed them,” she continued. “Parents loaned batteries for stand lights. Everyone came together to make sure the concert was a success. And boy was it. The lights being out added an extra glow (pun intended) to the proceedings. It was a beautiful way to cap off two intense days of rehearsing and performing.”

Simmons concluded by saying, “On Sabbath, the pastor talked about using the opportunity to perform as a moment to self-reflect on what we individually needed to surrender, so our worship through music was pure and holy. God used all of the trials and tribulations of the weekend to remind me that I needed to trust Him through the good and the bad. He was and always will be in control.”

—Jill Harlow is the Campion Academy communication director. Photos supplied.

11 Apr


Catie Fairfield – Loveland, Colorado … Campion Academy students served their community by planting at Eden Valley, cleaning up Glacier View Ranch (GVR), sorting donations at Habitat for Humanity, picking up trash on the highway, or rejuvenating the campus, April 5. Students in select choir and orchestra also worked with middle school students in preparation for the musical performances.

One of the groups got to do ground keeping on campus. This consisted of mowing the lawns, weed-whacking, planting flowers, and adding mulch to the beds. Grace Garman, Campion senior student, elaborated, “I loved doing community service because I got to be outside and enjoy the weather. I got the luxury of planting flowers, and I am glad I got to make the campus look nice.”

Another group traveled about 20 minutes to Eden Valley, a Seventh-day Adventist wellness institution in Loveland, Colorado. They planted rows of onions and learned more about the lifestyle of the people there. Yolanda Han, Campion junior student, reminisced, “My favorite part of the trip was getting to interact with the staff. I got to see what it was like living there, and I really learned a lot from the groundwork.”

The students in the highway clean-up crew picked up trash along the two-mile stretch of Highway 60 that Campion has adopted for over 10 years.

Carlos Santana, Campion Academy chaplain, took a group of students to spend the day at Glacier View Ranch. They had jobs that ranged from cleaning, shoveling snow and dirt, hammering down door heads, and using wood varnish on older doors.

Santana commented, “This service impacted me in a great way because it felt good to know we could make a difference to people who needed it. They had a new crew who were still learning how things go. Also, they have a big pastor’s weekend coming up and we were able to help make things look nice and ready.”

Campion students participate in school-wide service days each semester, in line with Campion’s mission of training students to serve and make a difference in their communities.

—Catie Fairfield, Campion Academy Student News Team. Photos supplied.

11 Apr


Karrie Meyers – Highlands Ranch, Colorado … Mile High Academy (MHA) celebrated another successful year of community support and fundraising at its annual benefit auction, Eat, Mingle & Give, held at Topgolf Centennial, April 7. More than 150 attendees gathered for a morning in support of MHA’s mission to provide a Christ-centered education.

This year was the school’s twenty-third event, making it one of the largest and longest-held fundraisers for the school. Families braved the unusual wind and chilly elements, showcasing their unwavering commitment to ensuring all students have the opportunity to attend MHA.

The doors opened at 9:30 a.m. with golf, brunch, and a silent auction featuring items generously donated by local community businesses, the MHA school board, and private donors. Items included an official Broncos helmet, Rockies tickets, various food items, gift baskets, a custom motorized Radio Flyer cart, gift cards, essential gardening tools, a signed Nikola Jokic picture, a signed Clayton Kershaw jersey, and much more.

The live auction never disappoints. Emceed for the fifth consecutive year by Chase Aalborg, and with lots of laughter, attendees eagerly bid on classroom auction items, with this year’s offerings exceeding expectations through the handmade items crafted by the individual classes. These unique items not only showcased the creativity and dedication of MHA’s students but also underscored the community’s commitment to supporting the school.

The event raised over $90,000, a remarkable demonstration of the generosity and dedication of the MHA community.

Reflecting on the auction, Jocelyn Aalborg, MHA’s vice principal of finance and development, remarked, “Eat, Mingle & Give stands not only as a testament to the generosity of the Mile High Academy community but also as a celebration of the bonds that unite us. This event served as a reminder of the collective strength and commitment shared among students, families, faculty, and supporters, all working together to ensure the success and growth of our school.”

Attendees also expressed their joy in gathering as a community. Brodie Philpott, MHA parent, alumnus, and current school board member, commented, “It was heartening to see everyone come together, despite the windy weather. The auction has evolved into a family-friendly event that speaks volumes about the sense of camaraderie and support that defines the MHA community.”

MHA is dedicated to its mission of providing a Christ-centered education. Therefore, when discussions arose regarding the creation of a fund to alleviate some of the financial stress on families paying tuition, the annual fund was established. The intention was to earmark these funds so that all students could attend MHA without financial limitations.

This year, the school’s fundraising goal is $250,000. While additional funding is still needed, it is through events like the annual auction that makes it possible for more than 40% of MHA’s students to attend the school.

One former financial aid student commented, “Because of the donations, I was able to stay at MHA with my friends.”

Aalborg continued to say, “Thank you to everyone who made Eat, Mingle & Give a success. Together, we are shaping futures and changing lives.”

—Karrie Meyers is the marketing and development coordinator at Mile High Academy. Photos supplied.

04 Apr


Julia Santiago – Loveland, Colorado … Campion Academy, Campion Seventh-day Adventist Church, and HMS Richards School in Loveland, Colorado, worked together to produce the annual Easter pageant “Journey to the Cross.” The interactive event drew over 800 visitors and had more than 100 volunteers for the five different showings in both English and Spanish, March 30.

The audience started the program at the church watching a skit entitled “Call the Man” in which each actor demonstrated different problems in the world such as abuse, war, violence, political strife, teen pregnancy, suicide, and death. In the end, Jesus is depicted comforting and helping each person.

Lillian Resz, a Campion Academy drama student acting in the skit, shared, “We can try to solve the problems of the world, but we can’t do it alone. We must call on Jesus to help us and that’s exactly what the presentation was about. Jesus came to solve each and every problem and make peace. This can happen in our everyday life as well.”

Then the group was led to the HMS school gymnasium which was set up as a market during Jesus’ era. People received a few coins that could be used to buy goods in the village. Students from Campion Academy helped in the village with their Bible classes.

The next event was the disciples calling everybody to follow them in Jesus’ triumphal entry, ending at the Campion Academy gymnasium where the audience watched an emotional act about the final events of Jesus’s life here on Earth. The play depicted the Last Supper, Gethsemane, the trial, death, and finally the resurrection of Jesus.

Ekenna Nwankwo, a Campion Academy senior who played the role of Jesus, commented, “It was a really great experience, especially getting to do it twice last year and this year. It opened my eyes to what Jesus really went through.”

Eddie Camacho, 2020 Campion alumni, portrayed Jesus in the Spanish versions of the play, and many bilingual Campion students also switched roles for this version. “It is important to have this option because there are several communities in the area of Spanish-speaking families,” explained Leandro Bizama, associate pastor of Worship and Evangelism at Campion Church. “We hope to help grow and reach their communities and having Spanish events in our programs provides a great way to do that.”

The ultimate goal of the event was to help people remember Jesus’ sacrifice and understand his love for us. The interactive program was able to impact people’s lives in a meaningful way.

Daneil Camas, Campion Academy senior, expressed, “I felt so overwhelmed with emotions that I ended up watching the play three times. I would have to say that this year’s [Journey to the Cross] was the best representation of Jesus’ sacrifice that I’ve seen.”

—Julia Santiago, Campion Academy Student News Team. Photos by Jeff Koska, Erik Stenbakken, and others supplied.