From Laundromat to Church School

Early in July life became exciting and hectic for the members of the St. Maries (Idaho) Church. On July 12, the church in business session voted to start a school as an outreach to the community. A school board was chosen and began work on July 14.

The Lord began to shape the school from the very beginning. He gave us the vision to make this a community outreach. He provided an 1,800-square-foot former laundromat for the school. It needed a lot of work to be ready for school to start, but church members pitched in. It has a new coat of paint, a new handicap-accessible restroom, a handicap ramp, and new carpet.

Starting a new school has many challenges. Keith Waters, Sharon Searson, and their education department staff provided a lot of help. We were able to get used text books at a fraction of the cost of new ones. A retired local teacher donated hundreds of library books, rubber stamps, and videos from her personal collection. The local Nazarene church donated computer tables and a nice chalk board. The former Cornerstone school sold us desks, white boards, and another chalk board for less than $100. A mother volunteered to teach art. A keyboard and conference table were loaned by another family. Two brand new teachers' desks and chairs were donated.

Bit by bit, the school took shape. When all of the remodeling was done and the teachers took over, it began to look like a school. It was a challenge to find a teacher in August—especially someone willing to work for a missionary salary. By the end of August, the Lord provided just the teacher we were looking for—two of them! We took a leap in faith and decided to ask them both to teach. They both accepted. We are richly blessed with the services of Cindi Morrison from the Colville area and Verna Sonnentag from the College Place area, both experienced and creative.

School started with seven students. From the contacts we had made throughout July and August, we had been expecting about 15 or 20. Our church family went to their knees in prayer. How would we pay for two teachers and rent on a building with only seven students? Why would God give us 1,800 square feet of space for seven students?

We now have eight students, and God is paying the bills as we put our trust in Him. We have begun an aggressive advertising program with a new Web site and local television ads. We have had several community service reports in the local paper and are currently planning a disaster relief training program.

We would appreciate your prayers for God’s school in St. Maries!

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The St. Maries Seventh-day Adventist School is built on miracles! If you would like to hear more of the miracles that God provided, you can e-mail Martha George at or call (509) 523-6123.

February 01, 2005 / Upper Columbia Conference