In 1985 the vision for New Life Christian Academy began in the hearts of the people of New Life Assembly. In our first year, the school was held in the church basement. Although, as the vision began to spread, it became obvious that God gave our people a heart and a mind to work. During that time many of the staff worked for low wages and some even worked only for the tuition of their children. Before the second year began, the school moved to its present location. However, the original facility did not include the two gymnasiums or the secondary building. This move was triggered by an extraordinary service one Sunday morning when God moved on the people to pay off the original church mortgage before taking on additional debt. During that one miraculous gathering over $86,000 was raised. Just think; that was 20 years ago. It was also interesting that the average age of the congregation was only 25-40 years old. These people were just starting careers, had young children, and not particularly established financially. Nevertheless, these people gave from the depths of their hearts. Their sacrifices included some items that were later converted into cash. Some of the gifts included weddings bands, engagement rings, precious stones, an 18 th century Hawkin rifle, a car, a camper, one 150 year old railroad watch, and an uncirculated coin collection. Others took out personal loans, some gave away college funds for their children and even monies that had been set aside for vacations. All were gifts above and beyond their tithes and everyone who made a commitment that morning kept their vow.
After the balance of the church mortgage was paid in full, we began to search for a separate facility to house the school. The property that was chosen was the former Summersville Clinic. The first addition was the cafeteria, followed by a gym, the secondary building and finally a second gym. It was then prophesied that people from outside the church would give large sums of monies, tens of thousands of dollars towards this ministry. Shortly after, one Summersville community member gave a donation of $50,000. Followed by another who granted $25,000 that was to be used to purchase blackboards, desks, tables, etc. Yet another gave a new van. This is just a sampling of the many gifts the school has received. Today our financial support is drawn not only from our small town but also from communities throughout central and southern West Virginia.
Monies are not the only sacrifices that have been made to make this school what it is today. Volunteers continue to give of their time and talents to help in the library, kitchen, concession stand, special events and fund raisers. We even have one gentleman who has given of himself for many years to keep our school maintained. Twenty three churches are represented by the student body of New Life Christian Academy. In addition, many churches have placed our school on their missions list and give faithfully. Several former alumni send monthly checks to help run this ministry. This commitment even extends to the present day teaching staff where a number of teachers have money withheld from their paychecks for students who could not attend without their help. Currently, our tuition only covers about 50% of our total cost per student, yet God continually uses people from many walks of life to help carry the load.
I believe the success of this school is because we delight the Lord whenever the brethren dwell together in unity. People have forgotten about their own personal recognition and have chosen to become like-minded toward one another, with one mind and one mouth. God tells us in Isaiah 55:11, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Through our school, His Word has been planted in the hearts of so many young people over the last 20 years. How far reaching has that been and will continue to be? Some of our former students have been foreign exchange students from the Philippines, Germany, Brazil, and Viet Nam. Our graduates have gone on to become teachers, police officers, pastors, engineers, pharmacists, school principals, broadcasters, business leaders, and instructors in the military. The “good hand of the Lord” is upon this school but let us not forget the sacrifices that have been paid and may God breathe freshly on His vision.