Waldensian Center Report February 2, 2009

The snow outside my window is weighty evidence that winter is in full swing. But the days are lengthening once again, and the Waldensian Center is now entering the second term of its second year. So much has taken place; so many literal and figurative miles have been covered, and doubtless each involved has contributed his or her fair share of blood, sweat, and tears to make this school a reality.

In October of 2007, the people of Waldensian Center (students and teachers alike) fully felt the truth of the adage that exhorts us to "never despise humble beginnings." Among Colorado mountains, WC (as our missionary school is affectionately referred to) took its first steps toward becoming a present-day "school of the prophets", dedicated to the training of the aspiring self-supporting missionary/gospel worker.

WCThe Clifford family graciously opened their home as the first official location for this effort, resulting in a unique and unforgettable six months. The simple fact that WC was being held—not on a campus or in a school building—but in a family's home presented some difficulties. Aligning schedules, coinciding daily chores, and juggling classes with household tasks were just a few obstacles faced by the students and teachers. But the challenges did not outweigh the blessings! There was definitely trial and error involved, but everyone learned how to accommodate everyone else and work together on both sides. The home environment, complete with household duties and outdoor chores did a wonderful job of bridging the student/teacher relationship. The things that they were required to accomplish as soon as they arrived on site in Colorado proved to be a bonding agent. Brother Thomas Akens, our teacher of history, English, Greek, and music says that working together established a friendship right away, and they were thus enabled to relate as friends even before they related in the realm of student/teacher. michael on bulldozer For example, one of the first hands-on carpentry projects was the building of their own bunk beds for the dorm room, complete with drawers and shelves! Other industrial arts and agricultural activities while in Colorado included learning to operate a bulldozer, tractor with a bucket, building raised beds, shredding green waste, composting and planting garlic (since it was autumn and winter), changing brakes, and using power tools, to name a few.

M at pressDespite other obstacles like mismatched time zones and long-distance teachers, life at printingWaldensian Center soon settled into a routine full and overflowing with projects and new experiences. A trip to Tennessee provided opportunity for students to try their hands at tile setting, plumbing, roof repair, clean-up, and operating a man-lift and a Bobcat. But perhaps the most important lessons learned there were habits of industry, perseverance and service. Six weeks spent at Smyrna Gospel Ministries in southern West Virginia contributed valuable hands-on experience with printing and desktop publishing, along with Brother Allen Stump’s applied math and church history classes.

Harvesting Grain Two sessions were held in northern California. The study of Agriculture continued at this location, and included growing potatoes and strawberries, harvesting and threshing grain by hand, learning to work with a farm tractor with cultivators, fertilizing organically, and building a greenhouse. The students practiced mechanics, and had an introduction to arc welding. ElectricalThey also gained a wide range of experience in residential house wiring which included rough wiring, and the installation of a meter base main distribution panel, fixtures and outlets. While studying in California, the Waldensian Center was blessed with the opportunity for several field trips to such places as the Grand Canyon, Sequoia National Park, Yosemite, ices caves and more.

Waldensian Center had yet another location. Brown familyHere enter the BrownBrown family, who felt called to open their hearts and home to the students and teachers, and “jumped in with both feet.” The school remained with the Browns in Alabama throughout the remainder of its first year, and for the start of the first term of the second year. Some of the things learned and experienced in these months included bookkeeping, and also a chance to learn how to can tomatoes at home, and can apples in a real cannery! Not to mention what was (for some of us) our first encounter with harvesting (and of course sampling!) in a Muscadine grape vineyard. Brother Chuck Clifford, along with his son Adam and daughter Rebecca flew their Cherokee 6 to Alabama for a three-day long ground school introduction to mission aviation.

Tara SoloTara Solo With the Cliffords’ return to Colorado early in the first term, the school’s students and teachers were divided into several different locations once again. Classes varied on site in the different places (Colorado, Alabama, and California), and one of the students who was staying in Colorado followed up an interest in mission aviation to solo a Cessna 150 in November of last year. All of the students continued to share Brother David Sims’ Bible classes, as well as Sister Linda Akens’ anatomy and physiology class via teleconference.

SteambathSome paramount areas of study at Waldensian Center since its beginning, regardless of location, have included that of natural remedies, hydrotherapy, proper/healthful dress, healthful food preparation and (as afore mentioned) food preservation. In Bible study, some topics of special focus and emphasis have been the Old Testament, Inspiration, Ellen White’s Gospel Workers, SDA history and its corresponding time-line, salvation, faith, prayer, and of course missions. In History we traced the dispersion of the people at Babel, to the various places on the globe where they settled. We studied the kingdoms of Egypt and attempted to identify which Pharaoh in history knew Joseph. We studied Assyria, Babylon, Greece, and Rome in its various phases. In Music class, music theory became more than merely theory, as the students learned to understand and use music as a language.

Yet, even with the incredible variety of different things seen, studied, and experienced by everyone involved throughout the existence of this school, I believe the greatest benefit gained during time spent in WC was that of the undeniable impressions upon the heart, soul, and character. No one involved could truthfully say that the experience thus far has not changed them forever. Every one of us faced trials at one time or another, and all of us received blessings like none we ever have or ever will. I have seen God as I have never seen Him before, and I can never forget. I believe He is with this school, and the evidence is visible to anyone whose life has been touched by WC. If one thing were to be singled out as the most noteworthy point established in a student’s heart at Waldensian Center, it is without a doubt an unwarped perspective and clear perception of the purpose of Christ’s followers on Earth, and the zeal and unfaltering drive to accomplish that purpose. One of our previous students is working at a lifestyle center at the present; another has started working in the print shop of a ministry; another student teacher is in the South Pacific doing Bible studies and helping to start a missionary school there. One is helping with secretarial work for a ministry.

TaraTara As you read this report of how God’s work is underway, prayers are going up and a diligent search is now being made to find a permanent location for Waldensian Center so the students and teachers will be able to participate in fellowship with one another, as well as study and learn on site together. This would simplify this work immensely, and be an untold blessing. Please continue to add your prayers to ours and continue to look for updates on how God is working here. God bless you all till next time!

~Tara May