As a covenant Christian school the mission of Hartfield is to prepare our students for life academically and spiritually. This means more than just ‘Christianizing’ a great curriculum and having godly examples as faculty and staff. It includes a commitment to a Biblical worldview, taught by integrating the truths of our faith into our daily lessons. It also includes providing experiences for our students to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus.
I am grateful for 20 of our faculty and Hartfield community leaders that led over 100 students on mission this past Spring Break. From the Mississippi Delta to Guatemala, Haiti and to several other places, you would be proud to know our student’s willingness to serve and the impact they had on the people and places they visited. I’m grateful to Benton Ingram, our Bible Department Chair, for sharing his perspective on these trips below. On a related note, I am excited to share that Mr. Ingram will be stepping fully into the role of Student Life Director next year for our Upper School. As Bible Department Chair, he has partnered with Student Life for several years and we feel confident that this additional role is a great fit for him.
Of course, with this news it is only appropriate to say “Thank You!” to Coach Joe Thrasher for his service in this role the past two years. We are grateful Coach Thrasher will remain a part of our Hartfield family as a part-time Bible teacher while he fulfills other calls to ministry in his life through the local church.
Please take the time to read below about the impact missions has had on our students and the world we live in from Mr. Ingram.
Arise week is one of the most exciting and meaningful weeks at Hartfield Academy. Students have opportunities to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus. Missions is a significant part of what we do during Arise week, and this year proved to be exceptional. We were able to send over 100 students and leaders to Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Bahamas and the Mississippi Delta where students came away with both amazing stories and incredible experiences.
The seniors were challenged in The Dominican and Haiti as they served in several ways. They helped with building projects, served in medical clinics, and passed out a bag of rice and beans that might feed an American for a meal but would serve as food for the week to the recipients in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. These seniors encountered people who had very little yet were filled with joy and hope. This taught them first hand that that peace doesn’t come from what you have but from Whom you serve.
When thinking of impoverished people, we usually think of countries like Haiti; however, the students who served in the Mississippi Delta discovered that there are many people close to home that live in poverty and lack many basic necessities. These students went into schools and saw how much of an impact simply sharing the love of Christ can have on those who desperately need love.
While most people think of the Bahamas as a vacation destination, for our students it became a place to discover how God can use the gifts and talents that you have to fulfill His purpose. Whether through playing basketball, teaching children English, or simply spending time building relationships, these students were able to see how their passions can be used to spread the gospel.
Each of the students and leaders who went on these trips will tell you that it was special because of their unique, personal experiences, and I would wholeheartedly agree. I was able to spend my Spring Break in Guatemala with a special group of students and leaders and shared amazing experiences with them that I will not soon forget. Without many of the amenities that we take for granted every day, we were forced to focus on what really matters. We spent our days in schools or communities playing games, singing songs, dancing and sharing testimonies. Our nights were a special time of reflection and sharing what God was doing. I saw students create new friendships, grow closer as friends, and develop a love for people they had just met. It amazed me to see how attached they became after spending only a few hours with those special children. But the most amazing experience was seeing one of our own students, who had always thought she was a Christian, realize her need for a Savior and surrender her life to Jesus. I will never forget baptizing her in a Guatemalan pool and the joyful celebration that followed.
As you can see, Arise Week is one of the most significant ways our students are challenged and encouraged to make a difference. Simply talking to one of these students about their experience reveals the impact it has made on so many of them. Thank you for your support and encouragement as we continue to raise up leaders who will courageously live out their faith.