Submitted by David Ekkens
Submitted by David Ekkens
Soon after the beginning of Seventh-day Adventism, education became a strong right arm of the Church. The result of that strong arm today is that the Adventist educational system is one of the largest Protestant education systems in the world.
God has given His people many blessings through the schools. But, you might miss out on those blessings if you live in a country that does not have Seventh-day Adventist schools. A communist country like Laos, which neighbors Thailand and Vietnam, has only 1,300 Adventists and no Adventist schools.
Actually, in 1957, they started an Adventist school in northern Laos. Pioneer missionary Dick Hall hired a local community teacher to educate 12 Hmong boys. Three and a half years later, the Indochina War forced Hall to evacuate, and the school closed.
Providently, one of the 12 boys remained faithful, and he later became the first Lao Adventist Church pastor, and built the first Lao-speaking Adventist church in Laos. That initial primitive attempt at Adventist education produced fruit.
Since the recent revival of the Adventist work in Laos, the members have felt a fervent desire for schools where their young people can learn about their friend, Jesus. Lao Attached Field (LAF) decided to build a high school where students could learn, not only the usual subjects, but also the distinctive Adventist beliefs.
God blessed the search for land; they found a prime location next to Phou Khao Khouay Biodiversity National Park, south of Vientiane. The newly named Living Water Academy is projected to cost $1,000,000.
God impressed donors to give $100,000, and LAF borrowed $50,000 from Southeast Asia Union Mission (SAUM) to complete the purchase. Now the $50,000 must be repaid. The Lao pastors and administrators have agreed to take a salary cut to pay back the loan, which will take them several years. The fact that they are willing to sacrifice says how important they believe a school would be. Unfortunately, the Laos pastors are barely surviving with their current pay; a salary reduction is unthinkable.
The 1,300 Seventh-day Adventist Lao members are also committed to building this new school: more than 100 members worked on the land last January, installing cement fence posts and clearing land. Soon electricity will be available and a well drilled. The property can then be used for camping. LAF plans to hire caretakers to stay on the property and begin a cattle-raising industry.
Many years ago, there was no Georgia-Cumberland Academy or Collegedale Academy, but our struggling members rose to the challenge, and those schools were built along with many others. Today we can help meet a new challenge, to help fellow Adventists provide education for their young people.
Georgia-Cumberland Conference members are partnering with LAF to raise approximately $1.7 million to help build Living Water Academy and fund 10 other soul-winning projects in Laos. One million dollars to build a school may seem like a lot of money. But, think about it — it would only take 100 Sabbath School classes to raise that if each class donated $10,000.
Or, if each of the 40,000 members of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference gave $25, we could build Living Water Academy, to the glory of God. Join the club. Ask your Sabbath School class to set a goal of $25 to $100 per person for one month.
Or, let’s dream big. Imagine the Holy Spirit inspiring 10% of the 286,000 members of the Southern Union to join the 40,000 Georgia-Cumberland Conference members in giving $25 each; there’s another $700,000. That would print a lot of books, train a mighty force of lay pastors, and build language schools and churches. This could all happen in a country where Christ’s name is barely known and the communist government highly restricts proselytizing.
Other projects for developing the Adventist church in Laos include publishing Seventh-day Adventist books for distribution to thought leaders, Buddhists, and students. This is a miracle that God performed: the books are being printed at the Lao National Publishing House — the cost was $100,000. Church planting in pioneer or newly entered areas — the cost is $80,000. English language schools — the cost is $260,000. Pastor training — the cost is $120,000.
Any of the above projects could be broken down into smaller increments. If you and your Sabbath School class would like to help fulfill the great commission on the other side of the world, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 423-713-5232.Georgia-Cumberland | August 2017