A Year to Ignite
Ignite (verb): /ɪɡˈnɑɪt/
‘to (cause to) start burning or explode’
“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled!” Luke 12:49 ESV
“He shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.” Isaiah 10:16, KJV
“He shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire:” Luke 3:16, ESV
“This is what the Lord God says: I am about to ignite a fire in you,” Ezek 20:47, HCSB, ISV
Join us as we reflect on some of the fires God has been igniting in WCFS during 2022!
Midyear Teacher’s Conference
“Dare to give your life away!”, and “Live as a servant!” Tim Shell’s bold challenge and Becky Wyand’s stirring exhortation were an inspiring start to the Midyear Teacher’s Conference and the year.
“Will you serve God even if He takes everything away from you? The very things that he gave you to love and care about? Will we worship God if we've served Him hard and all we have left is Him?”
Directly following the conference sessions, we held a ceremonial ribbon cutting to mark the official opening of WCF’s newly installed elevator. We were honored to have Nana present to cut the ribbon and take the first official ride. The elevator has been a big blessing to have at the facility, and we are reminded of God’s faithful care each time we use it.
The 2022 Family Heritage Expo was to be a day full of outdoor fun. We had great plans for pioneer games, races, a Student Council yard sale, a picnic and more, but on the day of the Expo the forecast persistently called for rain.
Not to be foiled by a little precipitation, we moved everything we could indoors, put down rugs to catch the mud, and everyone came.
It was amazing! The spark of excitement and enthusiasm had been ignited in the children for weeks and a little rain had no chance of quenching it. They cheerfully trooped up and down from the office classroom, where we set up their Expo displays, to the office basement, where we held the games and competitions.
The children were thrilled to show off their creations, admire each others’, and compete in the great arm-wrestling tournament and cookie catching competition!
Two of the highlights of the day came after the indoor picnic lunch, when we held a surprise 70th birthday celebration for Gary, and the Schott family shared about the work God has called them to in Cambodia.
Flaming Arrows, Loosed!
Commencement Exercises for the Class of 2022 were held at the Wellspring campus on June 4th. Of this year’s 8 graduates, 6 were able to attend in person, and 2 graduated in absentia.
It was a joy to listen to the testimonies the students shared of their journeys to this milestone. Some of the speeches were humorous, some emotional. All were filled with gratefulness to God and those who had guided and supported them through the years.
The students chose 1st Timothy 4:12 as their class verse; “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”, and sang ‘Be Thou My Vision’ as their class hymn.
As the Class of 2022 begin the next stages of their lives, our prayer is that God will send them forth like flaming arrows to ignite the hearts of the lost with the fire of His Spirit.
Family Leadership Conference
The theme of our 35th annual Family Leadership Conference was “Ignite the Roar!” The four-day event was held at Roxbury Holiness Camp in Orrstown, PA.
Activities began on Thursday evening with Joel leading a hymn-sing and telling the story of Caleb the Warrior, which several elementary students dramatically reenacted. During Friday and Saturday’s main conference sessions, Gary, Joel, and Tim shared on how to ‘Awaken your young lions and empower them’. Specifically, ‘How to engage your students without making excuses, being manipulated, or allowing life’s often difficult circumstances to dictate their performance’. Gary also taught about ‘The Daniel Model for Christian Activism’, Becky Wyand shared with the WCFS mothers via video during the ladies’ tea, and Tim held a follow-along demonstration of our newly introduced online curriculum, Ignitia.
The conference also featured a repeat of last year’s popular Creation Wonder Project, plus lots of fun field games, the Student Council sub sale, and a free picnic dinner on Saturday evening.
The Lord blessed us with perfect weather until the very last day of conference, when the rain fell in torrents. We left Roxbury with damp clothes, but kindled hearts.
Field trips offer amazing opportunities to spark a child’s interest and imagination, and we are exceedingly grateful to Ms. Dawn Adams for organizing so many of them for our students this year.
The adventures so far have included learning all about eggs and petting chickens at Deer Run Farm, sitting in the cockpits of real airplanes at Frederick Airport, exploring downtown Frederick, and building their own toolboxes at Reaver’s Woodworking Shop! The last excursion planned for this fall is a tour of the Utz Chip Factory, which is sure to be a fun and tasty trip!
Family Heritage Matters: House Bill 832
This spring, Family Heritage Matters once again helped to defend the rights of homeschool families when House Bill 832 was proposed to the Maryland General Assembly.
Bill 832 appeared to support homeschool families by seeking to establish a Homeschool Advisory Council. In reality, such a council would have been disastrous to homeschooling freedoms. FHM took action, spreading the word, contacting representatives, and testifying against the bill. The collective prayers and efforts of the Maryland homeschool community were successful, and the bill died in committee.
The Ignitia Pilot Program
At the start of the 2022-2023 school year, WCFS began a special pilot program: Alpha Omega’s online pace-based curriculum, Ignitia. We received a grant through HSLDA that enabled us to offer Ignitia to our families at a discounted price.
A Biblically based program, Ignitia provides a unique learning platform that not only gives extra accountability and assistance to students but also allows parents to be engaged, often at the touch of their phone screen.
We are still learning to use the program to its fullest potential. Miriam Shell has quickly become our expert on all things Ignitia, and the go-to staff member to help parents troubleshoot and customize the program to best meet their student’s needs. 15 families have already enrolled in the program, with positive reports so far.
The WCF/S grounds are looking better and better thanks to the work of Tim Shell and many volunteers. During the two workdays held this summer, they cut and chopped the last of the old trees overlooking the church parking lot, and poured a new sidewalk around the building.
Other improvements Tim has made include the repainted lines in the office parking lot, new signage for the church and school, a much-needed concrete pad outside the office basement door, repaired gutters, improvements to the well, boiler, and AC system, new gravel both in the parking lot and under the pavilion, the foundation for a brand-new sidewalk between the office basement and church, and the beginnings of several retaining walls.
Igniting the Globe
Homeschooling continues to increase both in the US and around the world. This year WCFS welcomed 13 new families into our direct enrollment programs, 8 from Maryland, 3 from the UAE, 1 from the Philippines, and 1 from Canada. We are serving over 1,700 students through our affiliate schools in the Philippines UAE, and Korea.
This summer, we were blessed to be able to hold two video training meetings with the staff of our largest affiliate school, Homeschool Global. Interacting face to face was greatly beneficial to all, in understanding and supporting each other.
We expect our international student body to continue to increase and are grateful to have a chance to ignite a love of God and learning in so many children.
Gary’s Knee Surgery
Prayer Request: Gary has knee replacement surgery scheduled for his right knee on December 12th. During the past several years, walking has become increasingly painful for him, but he hesitated to undertake surgery due to his ongoing battle with A-fib. However, his knee pain has worsened, and surgery has become a necessity.
God showed his amazing care once again in His provisions for Gary’s infirmity. He brought about the installation of the elevator at the church, the donations of an electric scooter and chair, and the paving of roads and paths at Roxbury campground just when Gary needed them. We are confident that God’s care will continue through the surgery and recovery.
Ralph Wyand and Bill Bloom:
WCFS lost two very close friends and supporters this year: Ralph Wyand and Bill Bloom.
Ralph, who went to be with the Lord this March, had served alongside his wife, Becky, for over 36 years. He ministered to hundreds of families, often quietly, from behind the scenes. His constant prayers and words of wisdom will be deeply missed.
Bill, who was called home in May, had served this ministry for over 25 years. He was a long-time WCFS dad, board member, and dear friend of the ministry. His faithful and caring dedication to this school was the fruit of his deep love of God.
The impact of both these men’s obedient service to the Lord, and the countless lives they blessed can only be known in eternity.
Miriam Shell (right) joined our staff in September of last year. She first served as an intern, and is now working four days a week. Miriam is responsible for international student transcript logistics, web design, video editing, and recently, all things Ignitia.
Mary Frances (Francy) Shell (left) also joined our staff, beginning work in January of this year. She is filling the vital role of international student transcript specialist. With several hundred students graduating from our affiliate schools every year, reviewing student records and creating academic transcripts is a full-time job, which she performs admirably.
We are truly thankful for God’s timely provision of staff in tandem with the work He is giving us to do!
Excitement in the Cornfield
Time would fail to tell of the flaming microwave, the merry chase after Ducky the Cow, the helicopter that trimmed trees along the railroad with an aerial saw, how God protected the four children and the driver of the car that crashed and flipped outside our front door, the concerned firemen that came to check on the smoke from our basement-cleaning fire, the new computers, our radio program, the stuck lawnmowers, Brandon the helpful postmaster, the old-fashioned apple butter making day, the Newspaper reporter, and the many other adventures that manage to find us in our quiet cornfield and keep our days from ever being dull!
Ignite the World with the Spirit’s Fire
As Joel advised the students when considering the election of their Student Council officers, we have a unique ability as Christians to bring the perspective of Christ’s light to dark questions. Indeed, we have an obligation. Let us be bold like lions, and through His power go forth and share the fire of His Spirit.
“For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 Tim 1:6, NASB)