CAA Experiences Old Memories, New Gym and Answered Prayers

April 30, 2018 | Larry Hiday

“Learning” and “meeting the mission of Seventh-day Adventist Christian education” are not isolated to classroom experiences but can take place wherever intentional effort has been planned. At Columbia Adventist Academy (CAA) in Battle Ground, Wash., that intent extends from the classroom to the athletic and music facilities and out to the broader community.

Almost 60 years ago, a combined gym and music facility was built where teamwork, endurance and grit were learned in physical education, intramurals and varsity sports. Rhythm, reading music and how to perform musicals as fundraisers for music tours were learned in band, choir and hand bells. Additionally, roller skating, floor hockey, marching, skiing per Warren Miller’s instructions and holding hands while faculty weren’t looking were also learned in this facility. That was long before leaks in the roof, mold in the locker rooms, insect-eaten floors and walls that allowed you to see light from the outside while you were on the inside.

After much discussion about what should be done to provide a better and safer environment for students, staff and visitors alike, God-inspired stewards stepped forward and offered the funding needed to provide a new home for athletic and music ministry at CAA — answer to prayer No. 1.

Talk began with the county about renovating and/or rebuilding, and the county said they would fast-track the permitting process, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars, if a new gym was built on the same footprint — answer to prayer No. 2.

What will be the role of the facility for learning and the school mission of CAA? The answer is we desire to develop our physical bodies in a way that contributes to our mental and social health, as well as becoming the athletes Paul describes in Hebrews who "lay aside every weight … which so easily besets us” (Heb. 12:1) with Christ as our role model. This has happened frequently as the athletic director, Jay Pierce, and coaches have intentionally focused on Christ-like sportsmanship and prayer.

Last fall CAA’s soccer team played a team from the community and invited them to the circle for prayer. All the other teams had turned us down, but the coach looked at us, paused, then said, “Yes, we will,” and marched his team into the prayer circle. As one of CAA’s students prayed, he said if we never saw our new friends again on Earth, we hoped to see them again in heaven.

Leaving the field, the visiting coach ran to catch CAA’s coach and said he’d like to play again as we were competitive but exhibited true sportsmanship. He then shared that he was coaching the team for his son who he’d lost in the spring. It took a minute to register that his son had died. And then he said that when the student had said “we will see each other again in heaven,” it had reminded him that he would see his son. He stopped, then asked, “Having Jesus in your life is important, isn’t it?”

This winter as the girls’ varsity basketball team progressed toward the state tournament, new teams were encountered. At the beginning of one of the games, an athletic director who knew of the team’s prayers approached Pierce and asked if our team would pray for their school, as one of their teachers had just died in a diving accident.

What will a new facility do? Provide more opportunities for introducing Jesus to people who will never come into our constituent churches. And that will be the answer to prayer No. 3.