Auburn Students Feel Presence of God
There is a special week at Auburn Adventist Academy (AAA) when a group of dedicated students speaks to their peers on spiritually relevant issues. This February, 22 students presented beautiful, powerful messages from the pulpit of Auburn Adventist Academy Church.
The theme for this student week of prayer was "Where Do I Fit?" The core of virtually every speaker’s message was that we need to focus entirely on God, placing no esteem on ourselves or our desires. We hide ourselves in Him in order to fit into the puzzle that we call life because this life is not ours — it belongs to God.
Every year this week is amazing, but this time it culminated into an extraordinary finish. Academy staffing decisions for next school year were announced in the midst of this week, and emotions were raw. Friday night vespers brought healing salve, and the academy community felt the presence of God almost tangibly as everyone sensed His Spirit filling every empty place in the room — including their empty hearts and lives.
As people came to the front to pray with pastors and dedicate their lives to the Lord, a fresh awareness of the peaceful strength of the gospel filled their hearts. An eloquent silence fell over the sanctuary. There are times in life when words are meaningless, and this was one of those times. The hundreds of hearts in that room were opened and knit together in true love as they prayed with each other, seeking earnestly the heart of God.
Auburn Student Reactions to Student Week of Prayer
Glynnis Kijak, senior: “I enjoyed hearing Greg Epperson speak for student week of prayer because he was super open and honest. He meant what he said, and he was being genuine.”
Josh Johnston, senior: “This week showed that a lot of students are hungry for the Word and on fire for God. Many students you wouldn’t think of as spiritual are becoming spiritual because of this week.”
Stephanie Martinez, junior: “I really enjoyed Karsten Rogers’ talk on Friday night because it really hit me, and I even started crying. Pastor Rogers prayed with me and my friends after inviting God to be with us and for the Holy Spirit to help us grow.”
Jillian Hightower, junior: “Out of all the years I have been here at AAA for student week of prayer, this was my favorite. I really enjoyed both Ahsan Rogers and Karsten Rogers.”
Mikeala Herman, junior: “Auburn really grew into a family this week at student week of prayer. I could feel God on campus. The talks became more meaningful after the news about staff changes that came out on Thursday. To keep the spiritual high going, we decided to start having group prayer to help people know they are not alone.”
Raquel Landaverde, junior: “On Friday at vespers, the Holy Spirit was tangible in the air. I had never felt that before.”
Tony Chirachevin, senior: “I enjoyed hearing from Ahsan Rogers and Karsten Rogers. They talked from their heart. It was real to them, and that made it real to me.”
Salvador (Junior) Antonio, senior: “Hearing Marika Miller and Karsten Rogers on Friday at vespers was the most impactful for me. It really hit home. There was a sense of unity in the church at vespers on Friday night. Pastor Rogers prayed with me, and it was a really great blessing.”
Marika Miller, senior: “Speaking for student week of prayer was a huge blessing to me. I learned that I can’t do anything without God and the Holy Spirit. I can’t believe God used me in this. I was stressed about presenting for student week of prayer, but I felt the Holy Spirit and realized I needed to let go. Everyone was down after hearing about the staff changes for next year, so I sort of set my talk up to speak to those feelings, and Karsten ended so well with the call to action and the reminder that all we need is Jesus. It felt like everyone was on a level playing field, everyone was insufficient, and we all knew God was good.”
Rebekah Johnson, sophomore: “Each speaker was different, and I got different lessons from each speaker. They each brought their own perspective. This year felt more honest, and I have a lot more respect for the speakers.”
Dylan Turner, sophomore: “When your peers are talking, you don’t expect to be that moved, but the talks this week were really moving.”
Matthew Burghart, senior: “It was the most spiritually powerful event that I’ve ever experienced in my life. Students really got a chance to open up to other students, some even for the first time, about their relationship with God.”
Ahsan Rogers, freshman: “Student week of prayer made me think about how to live out my relationship with Christ. It got people out of being stuck — it broke chains. It brought people together.”
Austin Burke, senior: “God used student week of prayer to make people realize what they are missing out on. It was a big wake-up call and a blessing to me. Everyone was at peace at the end of it.”