Four teams, comprised of two students each, head to HMS Richards Elementary School from Campion Academy each week to give Bible studies to 14 students in grades 7 and 8. These students, in turn, give Bible studies to the 22 students in grades 4-6.
The Campion students are members of Joe Martin’s junior Bible class and have been studying the 28 Fundamental Beliefs since the beginning of the school year. After studying each belief, Martin assigns his 43 students to choose seven Bible verses that seem clearest to them on each topic and use those verses in their studies with the younger students. They are creating their own Bible studies.
“Although for many juniors giving Bible studies is out of their comfort zone, this group is thoroughly enjoying sharing their faith and praying with the kids, many of whom have never prayed before with strangers,” says Martin. “They are enhancing their walk with God by sharing their faith,” he concludes.
Ashley Halvorson, an 8th grader at HMS, has enjoyed receiving Bible studies from Campion students. “They did a really good job giving them to us,” she states. “They had a lot of Bible verses for us to look up [on] the second coming and what happens when you die,” she shares. “I think it’s fun to tell other people about our beliefs and to see God work through us.”
Christine Eagan-Foster, a 6th grader, received Bible studies from two girls in 7th and 8th grade. One study was on baptism. “It’s really fun that we can get taught about these teachings and interact about them. We even learn more than we learned at home. It’s nice to get a kid’s perspective on it,” she says.
“By the time the HMS students have experienced this [give and take of beliefs] for a couple of years, they will be ready for baptism,” states Davin Hammond, principal of HMS. “We want every 7th and 8th grader to recognize that they can give Bible studies,” he adds.
Junior students Cassie Carr and Natalie Boonstra, both raised in pastoral homes, believe the things they are learning in the class strengthen what their parents have taught them.
“The Bible class with Pastor Joe has helped me to know God on a more personal level,” shares Natalie. She adds that Bible class has helped her develop in her Christian walk and prove her faith.
“We mark our Bibles with several verses to support each topic and cross reference them,” says Cassie. This gives us the tools to share with whomever we meet. The junior class is coming closer to God because of this class and it is noticed all over campus.”
Martin has long had a burden to disciple young people and has worked with the student literature program for more than 25 years. However, a new federal law restricting the hours that students under age 16 may work has made it more difficult to carry on this program.
“The devil tried to close the door of evangelism through this law,” states Martin, “but God opened a bigger door to evangelize our youth. Now we are placing the Scriptures in front of many of our youth who would never have opened them had the literature evangelism door not closed. I’m having more influence with more kids in class than with LEs,” Martin enthuses.