May 20, 2013
“I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)
King David looked up to the hills from his palace and knew that he could not find comfort and guidance from the high places and idols of the day. He knew he needed to look above to the Lord, his Maker. My faith story is one of looking above. It is a story of a legacy of generational faith, and of daily spiritual regeneration.
Growing up in Eastern Washington State, I looked to the west and could see the majestic Cascade peaks of Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier. I was reminded daily of my Creator’s majesty.
My parents and grandparents looked above to the same creator. My Grandfather, Grandmother, mother, and her siblings came across the ocean from the Netherlands in 1951. What a decision and commitment my grandfather made.
But that was the kind of man my grandfather was. He looked above to the wisdom of his God. He was a man of strong Christian conviction, biblical knowledge, and moral lifestyle.
I was instructed biblically in my home from parents who were reared in that kind of faith. My father was a man of example; a quiet man, but strong in his belief in Jesus Christ. He and my mother sacrificed much to send me to Sunnyside Christian School. They looked above to the Lord when times were tough on the farm or financially.
When I left home, I was almost immediately confronted with the big decisions in life. Attending a large state university, I was daily met with the challenges of differing worldviews. I had a choice to make each time; and each time I chose a biblical view.
This experience really helped me become a stronger Christian and spurred my decision to become a Christian school teacher. The choice to marry my life-long partner Jessica and having children, were choices in which I had to look above in faith. These choices have daily effects in my life. “What kind of husband, what kind of father, and even, what kind of teacher will I be today?”
Each day, my faith in my Lord Jesus Christ calls me to make myself available to his calling. One of my favorite quotes is by David Ring, “God does not ask for our abilities, all he asks for is our availability.”
I am a sinner. But God, in his undeserving grace, has given me life through his son Jesus Christ. I praise God for giving me his Holy Spirit. This Spirit works in me daily to bring me closer to God. Even though my sinful nature works hard to rebel, I have the assurance of my Father’s choosing me to be his child.
After 19 years as a Christian school teacher, I still get excited to go to work each day. I love bringing my passion for art and for God to my students.
I value the Christian education I received at SCS and SCHS. I was taught to look above in faith at an early age.
I look above with the same eyes of faith as my parents and grandparents - not to geographical hills or to a historical temple - long-since turned to rubble. I look to the same God that David did.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Ron Van Der Pol
May 13, 2013
Cicero once wrote, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but also the parent of all others.”
Dr. George Sweeting, chancellor of Moody Bible Institute, stated: “When you are thankful, you see God’s love and goodness. Your eyes are wide open to His judgments. You are receptive to His will. Unthankfulness, by contrast, blinds the eyes. An unthankful person may not even know that God is in the picture. An unthankful nation is no better. An unthankful nation is an unthinking nation, and its people are in mortal danger. America’s deepest problems come from blindness to the goodness and power of God. These are products of unthankfulness.”
Both men are absolutely correct! Thankfulness is the pulsating core of all virtue which opens our eyes to God’s provisions.
Albeit the calendar does not indicate this time of year as late November, a spirit of thanksgiving to Almighty God is not limited to one season. This attitude is a daily expression to our Father for all of His blessings. So as we, the SCS community, stride down the home stretch at the close of this school year, let us reflect and meditate on God’s incredible grace, goodness, and blessings.
We thank God-
For Safety - Countless miles traveled on daily bus routes, sports trips, and various activities-some of these on hazardous winter roads!
For Activities (both focused and fun) - Throughout the year, outside of athletics, the students participate in so many opportunities: retreats, banquets, chapels, service ventures, class trips, Close-Up, Career Shadowing, Student Council challenges and games, and pep rallies.
For Academics - Knowledge about God’s wonderful and marvelous creation is imparted consistently as the students learn about the intricacies of this beautiful and stunning world He has placed us in to uphold and maintain.
For Christian Fellowship
For teaching Godliness, righteousness, and striving for Holy Living.
The list of God’s blessings continues on and on…
The point is obvious. We need to stop, remember, reflect, and thank our Heavenly Father for His gracious blessings every day, every week, every season, and at the close of our school year. Go with God’s blessings!
GO MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE!
In Jesus’ Name,
May 06, 2013
When it comes to Sunnyside Christian School, I feel like I have a unique perspective. In 1985, I walked through its doors as a Kindergartener. So many things are still the same as that day in 1985. I played tag on that same wooden playground equipment and got blisters from those same monkey bars. I drank from the same (now very little) drinking fountains, and the flags are still flying from the same pole.
And I think it’s great that many of my teachers are still teaching today. Mrs. Elenbaas taught me first grade, Mrs. Martinez taught third (although she will always be Miss Vis to me), Mrs. Bos taught fourth, Mr. D taught sixth (and he’s still showing Ben Hur), Miss Clark taught math in Jr. High, and Mr. Smeenk was eighth grade homeroom. Mr. Kaptein was my principal through all of those years except maybe two. I didn’t see much of him.
I also walked that solo hallway at Sunnyside Christian High. Although much is the same there, the only teachers who are still there are Mr. Wagenaar and Mr. Sylling. And of course, Mrs. Schilperoort is still keeping the books in her little office!
It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and I’ve found myself thinking a lot about those teachers that are still here teaching and about those who have left. Every school year for the past many years, they’ve walked the same hallways, taught the same lessons, decorated the same walls, supervised the same playground, and heard the same excuses about late homework.
However, each year they’ve greeted new faces, thought of new ways to present the same lessons, decorated the hallways with new talent, encouraged new abilities, and thought of new ways to support the struggling student.
My unique perspective continues because I’ve been working for Sunnyside Christian School for over three years now. My past teachers are now my colleagues. I go to staff meetings, eat snacks in the teacher’s lounge and go into the principal’s office on a regular basis.
And my appreciation for these teachers has grown because I get to see behind the scenes. I see the thought processes of planning a year of learning, the efforts of putting on programs and chapels, and the emotions of truly caring for their students.
Now that my children are walking the halls at SCS, my unique perspective has come full circle. The hallways are still long for them. The drinking fountain is still almost too tall, and the toilets are a little loud. The playground is exciting, and talking to Mr. Dykstra and any older student is a highlight of their day.
As my years out of SCS grow, as my employment here continues, and as my children work their way through each classroom, my appreciation for the teachers grows.
I can leave my children with them because I trust them completely. I know they will love my children even when they’re naughty. I know that they will teach them about Jesus’ love and sacrifice and will encourage them to develop their relationship with Him. And I know that these teachers love Jesus enough to teach each subject through the lens of our Christian faith.
So to each teacher that has touched lives at Sunnyside Christian or Sunnyside Christian High, thank you.
April 09, 2013
It’s that time of the year again when we receive multiple phone calls from new parents asking about Sunnyside Christian School. Soon it will be registration time for the existing parents as well. With that thought in mind it made me reflect on why we invest in quality Christian education. Here are my top 5 reasons that paying tuition is worth every dime:
- Christ–centered - Every subject is taught in light of God’s Word. Christian education is way more than chapels, prayers at the start of the day, or even the Bible curriculum. At SCS we want our students to understand that whatever we do we do it to honor and glorify God. So science, history, drama, math, etc are taught from a Christian perspective. The way we play baseball or act in drama class all of life is to bring God glory. We have the assurance that all aspects of school – academics, discipline, social interactions – are from a Christ-centered approach.
- Prayer - Teachers and staff pray for your child and with your child. They take this privilege very seriously. It’s reassuring and even comforting to know that the staff at SCS spends time in prayer for our kids.
- Home-School-Church - I know you heard me say a thousand times how we want the church, home, and school to work together. It’s comforting to know as parents that the values I have set at home are being reinforced at school. The Bible stories taught at church are the same Bible stories discussed in the classroom.
- Excellence - Yes, Sunnyside Christian School is tough and we (teachers, coaches, etc) expect excellence. Sometimes it may seem like we expect too much, or the assignments are too difficult, but in the long run SCS will prepare every student for their next opportunity. Consistently, when I go back and talk with SCS graduates I hear over and over again how thankful they are that SCS prepared them well for college.
- Unity - While there is a lot of diversity within the Christian community, we have Christ as the center which provides unity for our school. We are proud of the diversity within our school, but our strength is in our unity.
March 25, 2013
There are many reasons why I like spring, but one reason is that new families are inquiring about Sunnyside Christian School, and sometimes I get the chance to show them the school! We visit the classrooms, talk to some teachers, see the library and computer lab, etc.
It’s a great chance for me to get to know these families better and answer their questions. It’s also a great way to show off the assets of our school: our teachers and students! No matter what time of day, I know that if I bring a family into a classroom, our students will be engaged with their teacher and with each other.
My favorite visit was with a mom and her son. We walked into the first grade classroom, where Mrs. Schrotenboer was having devotions with her students. They closed in prayer, and soon after, we snuck out of the classroom. The little boy looked up at me and asked, “So this is a Jesus school?” He was excited, and, needless to say, so was I!
Usually by the end of the tour, there is a sense of anticipation. The next step is the application process, which is quite simple: the family needs to fill out all the paperwork.
The most important sheet of paper in the admissions packet is the “Pastor’s Letter of Recommendation.” We require all our families at Sunnyside Christian School to attend a Bible-believing church on a regular basis. We firmly believe that the church, home and school working together gives our students a solid base for their lives.
There are some families who are going through the application process that don’t have a steady church home. We encourage these families to work on finding a church home and establish their families within that body of believers. Our students body attend over 30 churches around the Yakima Valley, and we can give recommendations of churches based on a family’s needs.
After the application is completed, we have interviews with each family. These interviews usually consist of one or two administrators and a member of the admissions committee. The sole purpose of the interview is simply to get to know these families better. It’s a good chance to discuss their expectations of the school, and our expectations for them as parents.
Our goal is to fulfill the desire of every family seeking a Christian education for their child or children. We are usually able to fulfill that goal for families by offering tuition aid packages for those that qualify.
If you or someone you know is interested in Sunnyside Christian School, please contact Laura Eisenga via phone and text at 830-1894, by email, or by sending a message to our SCS Facebook page.