At WAU our hearts are consistently inspired by the Lord’s exceeding great and precious promise as expressed through the prophet Jeremiah – “I know the plans I have for you - plans to bless you and never to hurt you – plans to prosper you – plans to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11)… Though described as the “weeping prophet,” I believe that if Jeremiah were living today, his heart would smile with Joy as with ever deepening understanding he observed the reality of this promise richly fulfilled in the lives of our WAU students.
I believe Jeremiah would smile as he continued to reflect on our WAU commitment to “engage minds and transform lives” through learning experienced this academic year by students from approximately 50 countries. This was learning experienced not only in the classroom, but through institutional service initiatives such as our Fall Service Day. It was on this day, in accordance with our institution’s declarative to be the “Gateway to Service” that our students traveled to Baltimore in busses, cars and even trains, thereby assisting with community renewal so desperately needed after the recent devastating riots. His smile, I am confident, would broaden through continued reflection on families who were introduced to the One who provides Living Water, as our students traveled on a Mission Trip to Flint, Michigan, where in response to the recent lead contamination and in partnership with local churches, families received not only fresh drinking water but a “spring break” vacation Bible School for the community’s children, in addition to wellness workshops on abundant, vibrant, healthy living, thereby giving participants a “future”. Our WAU commitment to provide “hope” continues as our students prepare, even now, for a summer Mission trip to Cuba, where they will once again partner with local churches to meet the physical and spiritual needs of this welcoming community.
Closer to home, our WAU ENANCTUS team transformed the lives of Hispanic families here in Takoma Park, through the provision of afterschool tutoring for elementary age children whose parents spend extensive hours in the laundromat and therefore are delayed in helping with daily homework. Our students not only provide this academic assistance to these very appreciative little ones, they also repainted the laundromat in brilliant inviting colors so that their evening “home away from home” could be welcoming for both the children and their parents. This innovative response to community need resulted in our team becoming recognized as Regional Champions and therefore entitled to compete for service excellence in the May National Event.
Jeremiah’s promise concludes to give you a “future and a hope,” which is why I invite you to rejoice with me as together we more fully celebrate the Anointed fulfillment of these inspired Words in the lives of our students, especially our Seniors, during this Graduation weekend. For this covenant is evident in the lives of over 250 graduates who this Sunday will receive their degree conferral. Inspiring the hearts of our students, constituents, Sligo family and friends, will be this weekend’s speakers - Ann Roda, Vice President Adventist Healthcare Mission Integration and Spiritual Care for the Friday evening Consecration; Dr. Leacroft Green for the Sabbath morning 11 o’clock Baccalaureate and Sarah Bloom Raskin, Deputy Secretary United States Department of Treasury, as our keynote speaker for the Sunday Commencement Address. As a result, through distinctive professions, these amazing adults not only experience their lives’ calling but are now more fully equipped to be the “salt and light” so desperately needed in our hurting world.