By Traci Pike … “You aren’t just a teacher. You are a minister,” Lonnie Hetterle often reminded teachers at teacher conventions.
In August 2020, as I was working madly in my classroom for the start of school the following week and feeling overwhelmed like I would never be ready, my phone dinged with a text message, “Good morning Miss Tracie. We were wondering if this year maybe the pastor could baptize the boys or what the steps would be to do that…” The message was from Julie, a mother of two boys, Talon and Danny, in our school.
The boys had begun school the previous year about a month before the COVID-19 pandemic started, which sent us all home for the remainder of the school year. Prior to coming to our school, their family had no church affiliation. They came to our school because of the witness and encouragement of Tami Dietz, one of our school board members. Tami’s son, Wyatt, is a sixth grader and plays hockey with Talon. When Julie and her husband Dan were unhappy with the school that their boys were at, Tami encouraged them to check out Mountain Road Christian Academy (MRCA).
After that text message, I was so excited I started crying and thanked the Lord for the reminder of why we have our little church school here in Casper, Wyoming. It is a ministry. Our students learn about Jesus here!
I immediately contacted Pastor Shayne Vincent with this fabulous news and shared Julie’s phone number with him.
Pastor Shayne came on school days and studied with the boys and other students who wanted to join the study during the fall.
On April 13, Talon and Danny were baptized at the local swimming pool–Casper Aquatic Center. The Dwyers rented the pool for a private party to celebrate their boys’ baptisms. In addition to friends and families from MRCA were the Dwyer’s family and many friends and families from the hockey teams that the boys play with.
The children swam for a little while before everyone was called over to one of the shallow pools. About 30 children sat at the edge of the pool in their swimsuits and many adults stood next to the pool as Pastor Shayne explained about baptism and what it means. Talon was baptized first, followed by his younger brother Danny.
What a beautiful experience! I cried, their grandma cried, and of course their mom cried–tears of joy! It was beautiful to see these two boys give their hearts to Jesus.
After the baptism, there was a party with pizza, cupcakes, and more swimming. It was a grand celebration and the most fun I have ever had at a baptism.
Since then, Julie has told me that some of the kids in attendance have asked about baptism and some of them have started going to their churches again because they witnessed the boys’ baptism. Some of the other students at Mountain Road Christian Academy have also talked to their parents and Pastor Shayne about being baptized.
It can be difficult for churches to financially support our church schools and every year, our school in Casper gets to the end of the year not knowing how we’ll manage to pay all the bills coming due. It is a drain on our church finances. But, events like this are the reminder of why we keep doing what we do! And every year, the Lord makes ends meet! We are an evangelistic tool! Every day we tell our students about Jesus. Every day we pray with them and for them.
Thank you for supporting your Adventist schools!
–Traci Pike is head teacher at Mountain Road Christian Academy; photos by Traci Pike