African Adventure Inspires CCA Grad
Cascade Christian Academy (CCA) will celebrate 100 years of providing Adventist Christian education in the Wenatchee Valley next year. When the first Adventist church was opened in Wenatchee in 1905, an Adventist church school was started the same year.
Nestled in the eastern foothills of the Cascades along the Columbia river, CCA is committed to providing young people with an outstanding Adventist education. Here is the story of one CCA graduate and her experience this year.
As Ashley Eastman was lifted out of the dirty water by her pastor, Mark Witas, she felt cleaner than she had ever felt in her whole life. She was on a mission trip in Kenya, Africa, and had chosen to be baptized. She recalls it as one of the most amazing experiences of her life and didn’t realize how much that experience and the trip in general would touch her heart.
Raised a Catholic, Eastman never knew God on a personal level. Religion was all about monotonous masses and repeating of ritualistic prayers. It wasn’t until she had the miraculous chance to attend CCA and had the help of her grandparents, Jerry and Marie Dawes, that she finally found Christ. After attending Walla Walla College for almost two years, Eastman decided at the last minute to join the Kenya mission group from her former school and church. She had wanted to be baptized for awhile but wanted it to be outdoors, and she couldn’t have picked a more beautifully spiritual place. She felt so blessed to have had the opportunity to share that day with the Masai that were being baptized.
Eastman explained that she couldn’t even begin to describe the beauty that Kenya holds, though the living conditions are quite different than westerners are accustomed to. The awesome part is that, despite the disease-stricken villages, these people are happy and content with what they have. Because of them, Eastman made a very important decision.
Since she has been back home, Eastman’s mind has been flooded with the thoughts and dreams of returning to Africa. She has decided to take next year off from school and go back as a student missionary. She will first work at an orphanage in Zimbabwe then at the same camp in Kenya that she stayed at earlier this year.
Along with the plans to return, Eastman has started a donation program called, “Everyday Give Away!” This program is based on helping those who are less fortunate live a better life—spiritually, mentally and physically. She is collecting clothing, shoes, children’s school supplies, toys, and medical and dental supplies. Right now, she is focusing on helping the people of Kenya but has hopes of broadening her program someday to help a wider range of people.
Eastman is asking for support and prayer. One thing that the camp leader said really stuck in her mind: “We are all of the same tribe, and our tribal chief is Christ.” Let’s all work together in building our tribe to be as strong and powerful as possible!