Updated: Dec 7, 2022
God’s prophet Isaiah wrote that “God hears our prayers ever before we ask,” (Isaiah 65:24). Tulsa Adventist Academy (TAA) staff and students experienced that truth personally. As students from kindergarten to seniors poured into our lunch room for our annual Phonathon at TAA on November 1, the mood was mixed as several of us staff were skeptical we could reach our goal of $40,000; after all, we had made an urgent call for donations to student aid one week before school started (and God provided!). Our students, however, were gung-ho to call and help their classmates get the financial help they needed. It doesn’t hurt that prizes are given to students who get the first donation, the most class participation, and similar incentives (none are based on donation amounts). Thankfully, God’s ways don’t rely on mere human emotions and expectations.
Our annual phonathons last for one hour on one evening per year and we rely on pledges—scholarships or monthly—and instant donations alike to help students for the following school year. We need $80,000 annually but usually raise about $20,000, meaning we sadly turn away some families. This year God showed us that we need to trust Him fully because the miracles started pouring in after the first few phone calls were made.
The miracles began with a leap of faith. School board members, local pastors, the Native Ministries assistant director Jim Landelius, and many parents sat next to TAA students as they called prior donors, alumni, friends, and relatives in hopes of raising $40,000. Some of our most faithful donors decided to offer a match up to $10,000. Another local business added several thousand more to its annual scholarship donation through www.osfkids.org. And of course, the individuals who were donating other amounts were helping keep the momentum toward reaching our goal of $40,000 for the evening.
About halfway through the evening, a new student and first-time caller was asked to call the director of the Oklahoma Conference Native Ministries department. She was quite nervous but very enthusiastic as she read her script while I quietly encouraged her along the way. After reading and asking him if he would like to donate there was a pause as he heard about the $10,000 match. He then told the student he would donate $20,000. She repeated the amount to confirm and write it on her intake form while I felt the tears pooling in my eyes. Oklahoma Native Ministries has a history of helping Adventist schools with equipment and funding as needs arise, and between the increased donations from usual donors and this additional gift, our goal was impressively surpassed!
Overall, our students raised just shy of $60,000 during the 2022 phonathon. TAA teachers and staff are so grateful for our brave students who despite their apprehension about calling friends and strangers will summon their courage to help their friends and fellow students. We are also deeply thankful to the Native Ministries department for boosting our student aid fund, which will now reach many families working at two jobs or having truly unique circumstances. Our dedicated treasurer, Jennifer Dohlman, works with other staff to keep everything organized during the frenetic hour. Most importantly, many families will bring their students back in August 2023 for another year of Adventist education where they are being prepared for heaven and earth. God truly answered our prayers before we asked Him for blessings from donors, and to every donor, thank you!
by Caroline A. Fisher, Development Director
Tulsa Adventist Academy