At Upper Columbia Academy, we believe God is waiting for "the spirit of service to take possession of the whole church ... everyone working for Him according to his own ability ... If a missionary spirit is encouraged ... much of Heaven's blessing will be given.” (Ellen G. White, Christian Service, p.11, 65) It’s not a new idea, but it is revolutionary. It’s something worth teaching and living, not just talking about.
Hope Taskforce started at UCA in 1993, setting aside six days per year for community service. From lending a helping hand at a local food bank or humane society to painting houses and pulling weeds, UCA’s staff and student body all got into the action. Seventeen years later, the program remains strong.
Since the 1970s, UCA has offered a regular mission trip. This incredible program boasts not only longevity, but also depth. Last year, UCA faculty and students served in nearly 20 locations around the globe. While the school was involved in planning four of these trips, the rest were done independently. From Bangladesh to Belize, UCA had people practicing service all over the world!
Students at UCA can see service as a lifestyle, modeled by the faculty and staff. Of this there is no better example than Olin Peach. The former history teacher, known for his early morning classes and unending energy, was passionate about service. He began the mission program at UCA and remained involved long past his retirement. Having just returned from leading this year’s trip to Borneo, he was tragically killed in a snowmobile accident this April. His is a legacy of service.
Right now, UCA has more than 30 alumni serving around the world. Bob Renck (’01) and his wife are spending five years in Guyana. Braden and Johanna (Reeve) Pewitt (both ’95) have spent the last 10 years in Cambodia. Danelle (Smith) McGill (’04) and her husband are serving with Adventist Frontier Missions in New Guinea. Bob Roberts (’70) has committed his life to serving as a missionary pilot. They all had a spark, a desire to serve. We like to think their time at UCA, with an intentional focus on teaching service, helped that spark to grow.