Milo Students Take 'STAND' for God

August 20, 2016 | Kathy Hernandez

Although Milo Adventist Academy’s high school worship conference “STAND," scheduled for late January, had to be canceled due to extensive storm damage to Milo’s dormitories, Chad Reisig, Milo Academy Church pastor, still had a burden for sharing the vital biblical truths with his students. When head girls’ dean, Kim Person, spoke to Reisig about some spiritual struggles girls in her dorm were experiencing, he knew that waiting was not an option. They decided to propose a unique way to conclude the upcoming week of prayer using the popular “lock-in” concept. It would be an intense 24-hour period of Bible study, prayer and praise focused on Ephesians 6: “Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil” (Eph. 6:11, NLT).

Students had the option to leave at 11 p.m. to go back to their rooms to sleep or to stay all night for the “Special Forces Training.” More than 30 students decided to spend the night in Bible study and prayer instead of sleep.

"Staying for the Special Forces Training was a very eye-opening experience,” reports Dorea Bradley, a senior. The students were divided into two smaller groups to study and pray together. “As the night went on, it became harder and harder not only to stay awake but also to stay alert and in the mindset for prayer," Bradley explains. "That whole night you had to make the decision whether to sleep or not, but around me there were a few people who would help me stay awake and vice versa. I kept getting these slight reminders of how when we are in this deep of spiritual warfare, we can't just rely on ourselves to stay in communication with God, but we also have to rely on him for help and also we can look to the people around us who are going through the same thing we are to help us and give us support in our spiritual lives.”

There were breaks throughout the weekend. Meals were provided by the cafeteria staff. Each session began with a time of praise, followed by the main presentation on one of the pieces of armor listed in Ephesians 6.

After studying about that armor, students were dismissed into small groups in which they used their creativity to construct “armor” out of cardboard, duct tape, aluminum foil and rope. This activity helped them maintain focus as well as visualize the parts of the armor of God.

“I enjoyed the hands-on project that we did," says sophomore Ali Wallace. "Since I'm a visual person, I have to do something physical in order to get it into my mind. I learned that in order to protect ourselves and others from Satan, you need the full armor of God — not two articles, not one, but every piece of it — or you will go down. Lately I've been sharing the gospel with my "gospel boots," and I haven't felt better. I feel that the people are actually curious about the works and wonders of God.”

It was not your typical vespers and church service. Students who had been disengaged in the past were actively involved. Senior Hannah LaRiccia says, "It created a new worship experience for students who are accustomed to a traditional style of church."

Junior Abby Alcantara most enjoyed the enthusiasm from all the students. “From leading praise team to building our cardboard armor, I could feel energy fill the gymnasium," she says. "It was really awesome to see us students bond together in this new way, and I know that this experience helped us all grow spiritually. After most of the students left, the ones who stayed behind for the actual lock-in part kept that same energy. We were so hyped to dive into God's Word and equally excited to pray for the ones who needed it the most. The result of that weekend was nothing short of an amazing opportunity to see God's phenomenal power and love.”

If you would like information about Milo’s next high school worship conference, please email