More than 120 teachers, almost all Seventh-day Adventist church members, came together for a Sabbath of worship and fellowship at the multipurpose hall of the Hong Kong Adventist Academy last September. They teach at one of the five Sam Yuk schools in the Hong Kong-Macau Conference church region—Hong Kong Adventist Academy, Kowloon Sam Yuk Secondary School, Tai Po Sam Yuk Secondary School, Hong Kong Sam Yuk Kindergarten School, and Macau Sam Yuk Middle School.
And what they should experience is a total or whole-person conversion: physical, intellectual, spiritual, and social.
During the special day of worship, teachers were encouraged to rethink and answer together the question “Why Adventist education?” In his one-hour presentation, Northern Asia-Pacific Division church region education director Richard Sabuin shared three questions about the coming of Naaman to the Jordan River for healing from his leprosy (2 Kings 5): “What brought Naaman to the Jordan River?”, asked Sabuin. “What did Naaman find at the Jordan River?” and “What did Naaman experience at the Jordan River?”
Applying the analogy to Adventist education, Sabuin said that it was God’s prophet (Adventist teachers) that brought Naaman (the students) to the Jordan River (Adventist Schools). “What students would find in the Adventist schools is a faith-integrated curriculum,” he said. “And what they should experience is a total or whole-person conversion: physical, intellectual, spiritual, and social.”
These features make Adventist education unique, Sabuin said. Also, he reminded that the Adventist Church offers Adventist education for the end times, in the context of the great controversy, just before the second coming of Christ. “It is what makes Adventist education essential to prepare young people for the coming of Christ,” he said.
Returning once more to the Naaman analogy, Sabuin said that facilities are important but far more important than good facilities is the service of Adventist teachers. “Abana and Pharpar in Damascus might be much more beautiful than the Jordan River, but God’s prophet is not there. He is at the Jordan River, he said.
Chinese Union Mission education director Barbara Choi interpreted the Saturday morning message from English into Cantonese, as well as an afternoon panel discussion focusing on the role of Adventist teachers in mission schools. Three senior Adventist teachers — Kar Wai Lam, Wong Chung Yeung, and Tam Tsz Ho — were part of the panel.
Near the conclusion of the event, one of the panelists defined his job in a way that resonated with the audience. “For me, teaching in an Adventist school is not work—it is a ministry,” he said.