Adventist Review Online | Mission in One’s Backyard and Abroad

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In the United States, students at one Adventist academy rediscover the joy of service anywhere.

Service is at the heart of the mission of Georgia-Cumberland Academy (GCA), a Seventh-day Adventist boarding secondary school located in Calhoun, Georgia, United States. It becomes evident each spring break when a sizable group of the school’s students chooses to spend vacation days serving others. 

In 2019, GCA offered two mission trip options — one in the United States, their “own backyard,” and the other one abroad.

At Holbrook Indian School

School leaders reported that 18 students headed to Holbrook, Arizona, United States, to serve at Holbrook Indian School with GCA assistant chaplain Kalie Kelch and information technology (IT) director Randy Kelch. The Arizona boarding school is home to approximately 65 students from four tribes, mostly Navajo, from grades 1 to 12.

“Our goal on the trip was to show God’s love through all we did, whether working or playing,” Kalie Kelch said. “The group did such a great job working together, and staying positive in the midst of a number of crazy wind storms.”

Kalie Kelch said that GCA students made new friends as they shared their time with local students.

“During their stay, GCA students built two flagstone pathways, dug out three large landscape beds to be filled with lava rock, removed a fence at one of the faculty homes, installed a horse treatment stall, and built a large corral,” she said.

Kalie Kelch explained that in addition to maintenance and landscaping work, GCA students tutored the Holbrook students in math and spent time playing with them each day.

“Our students were Jesus’ hands and feet in Arizona,” she said.

GCA students were the first to be affected by the service project.

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