It is not unusual for Berea Junior Academy (BJA) in Sumter, S.C., to display their many talents, and November 16, 2017, was no different when they, along with other schools in the area, competed for the 2017 Festive Favorites in the Festive Five Competitions at Sumter Mall. This five-night event was held November 13-17, to kick off the holiday season. Because the public votes the winner, BJA was at a disadvantage from the beginning, because it is a smaller, private school of approximately 20 students, as opposed to the public schools, which outnumbered BJA by far. This did not deter BJA. They were not undaunted by this reality, but the students (neatly dressed in their blue and white with red ties) gave an astounding performance, filling the air with sweet melodies, and bringing life to the mall. Even though BJA was not chosen as the 2017 Festive Favorites, they were favorites to many, including people who attended all the presentations, and workers in the nearby stores. They all echoed the same sentiments that BJA shone brightly.
BJA always seeks for ways to be involved in missions and community activities in and out of state. It was therefore no surprise when they accepted the invitation by the New River Valley Church in Christiansburg, Va., to be their special guests, and to participate in their activities during the weekend of September 15-18, 2017. Under the leadership of principal Regrick Howard, BJA led out strongly in all aspects of the divine worship service. The speaker for the service was seventh-grader Regrick Howard Jr., who spoke eloquently and allowed the Holy Spirit to work as he presented the Word of God to the congregation. The title of his message was “It Is Better to Obey,” and he used the story of Samson to present it.
In the afternoon, BJA was in the streets to invite the community to the Family Health Festival that would be held the next day. It was amazing to watch the students approach strangers with confidence, boldness, and enthusiasm as they recited their invitational pitch.
During the festival on September 17, the students went on a health walk, singing and bringing light to many, and they also served members of the communities at the eight booths that represented the eight laws of health. The day’s program also included health screenings — blood pressure and BMI checks, and a free consultation with a physician. The police brought their obstacle course to the festival, where the principal posted the fastest time of the day. The partnership between New River Valley Church and Berea Junior Academy served many people from the communities of Christiansburg and surrounding areas.
While this was a mission trip for BJA students, they also enjoyed camping at the Virginia State Church of God Campground, where they got to enjoy nature and bond with each other. They hiked the Cascading Water Fall Trail, and the events culminated with a bonfire that night. At the bonfire, a youth evangelist called for the students to dedicate their lives to God, and eight students and some of the parents accepted the call. Two students also requested Bible studies.
Berea Junior Academy is on the move, being a servant of God, and a friend to man. They may be small in number, but they’re big in stature. Way to go, Berea!
South Atlantic | March 2018