Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Pastor Sanghae Kim reads the baptismal vows to candidates Kyle Williams and Joseph Berry.

Blue Mountain Academy Students Baptized During FOCUS Week

Story by Esther Hernandez

“At Blue Mountain Academy (BMA), we believe that true education focuses on academics, along with social, physical and spiritual development of our students,” states Burney Culpepper, principal. “This year’s FOCUS (Focus On Christ’s Ultimate Sacrifice) week impacted our staff and students in a powerful way, causing them to grow in their relationship with Christ and strengthen their understanding and desire for the Word of God.”

For the week of spiritual emphasis, seniors Christina Gibbs and Summer Dekle, along with juniors Matthew Ullom, Joosung Kim and Aby Sosa, took turns speaking for morning worship. Each evening, Dee Casper, the director of Pennsylvania Conference’s CORE School of Evangelism, shared that the way we view God can affect our experience with Him.

Casper explains: “We walked through how Jesus came and suffered alongside us—and went through more than we may realize. We [also] discovered that God truly is enough for us and how we can handle the seemingly silence of God, find purpose in our pain, and focus on the faith of Jesus and the price He paid for us.”

As Casper preached, junior Joseph Berry experienced God in a powerful way: “For the first time, I genuinely felt that God was speaking to me and answering my prayers,” Berry shares. “I was moved that night and felt convicted. I stayed for the prayer circle, a choice that I had not even considered. ... That night in my room, I was determined to hear the voice of God.”

For the next three days, Berry fasted, prayed and listened. And during the final evening of FOCUS, he was convicted that he was holding onto things that were preventing him from “hearing” God. Berry responded to Casper’s final invitation to surrender completely to God. That Sabbath, Sanghae Kim, pastor of the BMA church, baptized Berry and fellow junior Kyle Williams. Three other students are currently studying to be baptized.

“FOCUS week definitely benefited my spiritual life,” shares senior Catarina Falcao. “I saw [the speakers’] leadership skills, their commitment to God and how He is calling them and using them. I want that experience! Each student leading out inspired me to do more, and their example continues to inspire me today.”

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