It has been such a blessing to be the Student Association (SA) advisor at Guam Adventist Academy (GAA) this year; it hasn’t been hard at all because our student leaders in student government do almost all of the work! Our SA retreat in March was one of those amazing blessings that I will not soon forget.
The SA leaders were praying that this retreat would be successful and really poured their hearts into planning everything; all I had to do was plan the menu and do the grocery shopping! It is NOT easy cooking for 50 teenagers! Although this was a daunting task for me, God helped me to find good deals while shopping and I was able to stay within my budget without any of them going hungry.
During the retreat, the upper school students – grades 7 through 12 – spent two days and two nights camping at GAA. Before the students arrived with their camping gear, they were told to leave all of their electronic devices at home for the weekend; this proved to be a bit difficult for some of the students, but I think it was good for them to spend time with their classmates and with God without the distractions. After all the tents were set up, we ate dinner together followed by worship and s’mores around a campfire. Then it was time to go to bed; tomorrow would be a busy day.
Morning worship on Thursday was given by our Bible teacher, Mr. Thomas Hayes. He talked about getting rid of the things that stand in the way of your relationship with God. After the talk, the students met in small groups to pray together. This verse was my prayer for the students: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people” (Ephesians 1:18).
After morning worship, we headed to Tinago Falls for a hike. It was such a beautiful hike; once we arrived at the falls, our SA Vice President Joash Jano-Edward preached a sermon. It was an incredible blessing to listen to a sermon from one of our student leaders. I am thankful for students who honor God in their willingness to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).
After the hike, we ate a delicious lunch of haystacks and headed to the beach to enjoy more of God’s beautiful creation in the water. The students swam and played games in the warm water and sand. God’s beautiful creations in Guam are such a blessing.
Thursday evening was the biggest blessing of all. When we returned to GAA, we had our song service and then students were given the opportunity to participate in the ordinance of humility (foot washing). While we made this part optional, even some of our non-Adventist students wanted to participate; I had them pair up with some of the Adventist students who had done foot washing before. They prayed together and washed one another’s feet. It was very moving; the Holy Spirit was present.
We continued with the Communion service where Mr. Ringlen Ringlen had prepared a beautiful talk on the Last Supper. Students participated throughout the program. Kana prayed over the bread and Elijah prayed over the grape juice. Wyatt, Joash, Gabriel, and Don helped to pass out the bread and grape juice. I think it was so meaningful to the students to be able to share in the Communion service with their peers at school.
I am so thankful for all of the amazing blessings that God gave us during this retreat. Not only were the students able to survive without their devices for almost three days, they also had a ton of fun and were given the opportunity to grow spiritually. The retreat closed on Friday with watching the movie “The Sound of Music”, some games, and cleaning up the school. The SA retreat was such a blessing for me; I hope and pray that it was an even greater blessing for the students of GAA.