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Schools: For Students in the Word, class is more than Bible stories

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Students from Waccamaw middle and high schools have found a safe place to pray during their daily Bible study, Students in the Word.

Supporters of the program that is conducted at All Saints Church for high school students and St. Paul’s Waccamaw United Methodist Church for middle school students gathered for a luncheon this week and raised $8,500.

“It’s amazing how God will open your eyes when you start spending time with him,” said Waccamaw Middle School student Kate Droseiko. “I received an experience far beyond Bible stories.”

The program began at Waccamaw High and added middle school students this year. The Rev. Johnny Ford, a board member, said students leave school grounds to avoid any appearance of proselytizing. “This not something the school district can fund,” he said.

Lisa Hutto, board chairman, said the money raised Tuesday at St. Paul’s Methodist would fund the program through the remainder of the school year and leave $2,500 to begin again in the fall. The organization pays a teacher, Susan Graves, school bus drivers and the costs of transporting the students for the one-hour classes.

Graves said that she had some familiar fears when she took the job: that she was not holy enough, not spiritual enough and didn’t know enough about the Bible. “I realized again,” she said, “I was in over my head. God impressed on me he was so much greater than the fear I had and that he was the one who was going to be in charge of what happened. He put the love in my heart for all these kids that I didn’t know I had.”

She said it has been wonderful to watch the students learn to pray and grow in Christ as they explore the big questions of life. “I love to look in their faces,” she said, “and see these light bulbs go on that say, ‘I get it.’ Every child is at a different place. Every person has different questions. What we do in class stays in class. They have a place to feel safe.”

Guest speaker for the luncheon was Sherry Bradshaw, founder of Back 9 Ministries and Miss South Carolina in 1985. Over the years, Bradshaw said, she got her priorities mixed up. After going through a dark period four years ago, she realized through counseling that she had put her husband and children first rather than God. “If God is second,” she said, “he may as well be last. God’s rightful place is first in anyone’s life.”

She changed her priorities and began writing a daily blog and has just completed her second book. She said it’s not true that God only gives a person what they can handle. “God gives you so much that you can’t handle it so you have to depend on him,” she said.

Donations to Students in the Word may be sent to the organization at P.O. Box 163, Pawleys Island, S.C. 29585.

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