We teach Bible, Theology, and apply our spiritual life in daily practices in our community.
Faith formation at
Freeman Academy includes:
Our Spiritual Emphasis Day focused on heart, mind, and spirit.
“Our spiritual, mental, physical, and relational health are all related,” said keynote speaker Kate Friesen, master of divinity graduate from Sioux Falls Seminary and 2007 Freeman Academy alum. “Today we gave students tools to address each area because they are essential for developing a whole, healthy person.”
After worshiping with the high school praise band, grades 7-12 took personality tests designed to identify their spiritual temperament. Afterward, students discussed each temperament, for example Caregivers and Contemplatives, and how they connect best with God. Afternoon breakout sessions focused on spiritual gifts and relationships.
Grades 1-6 were led by Administrative Assistant Jill Hofer who is studying for a degree in pastoral care. “They we eager to learn and we had fun making ‘I am’ jars which helped them learn that we are all unique, special, and made just how God meant to make us.”
Study Hall in the Chapel. Language Arts in the Arboretum. Math in the Dining Hall. To accommodate social distancing in bigger spaces, uncommon classrooms are part of the new normal at Freeman Academy.
While Monday and Friday chapels have seen some changes – including moving to Pioneer Hall to accommodate increased spacing – the Chapel Committee is aiming to mix in creative ideas for worship and reflection.
One of the first chapels of the year started in Pioneer Hall but moved outside. Students and staff took time to pray over campus during the fall Prayer Walk. “It’s a good opportunity to pray for the people and activities on our campus, and to just have a few minutes for quiet, fresh air, and reflection,” said Chapel Committee Chair and Assistant Head of School, Brad Anderson. Since then, the Chapel Committee has introduced Spiritual Life Groups as a way to begin cultivating spiritual habits and closer relationships among students.
In Pioneer, elementary students space apart on the basketball floor, while older students have assigned seats in the bleachers. In years past, the high school praise band began worship services. Now music videos often take the place of live music and singing. This week a short time lapse video of nature gave students time to focus on God’s creation.
“We’ll have a variety of music opportunities, not only video, but solo and small group performances,” Anderson said. “It’s difficult not being able to sing together as a school, but we’re deliberate about making time for musical worship and meditation, and we look forward to singing together one day again.”
Social distancing hasn’t changed everything. Area pastors, missionaries, and others share devotions from a safe distance and the fourth through sixth grade students continue to take prayer requests. This year requests for school to stay in session and for people with COVID-19 are common.
Friday mornings at 7:30 a.m. is early but a simple breakfast and peer devotions helps students start their days off well.
20-year Faith Legacy Driven by Teens
How often does anything last 20 years? Let alone a ministry organized and led only by students. Since Freeman Academy students first organized a Bible study group in the late 1990s, the leadership baton has been faithfully passed down teen to teen. Alumni students, Luke Allison and Jessica Qiao Sun led the legacy during their senior year.
“Our hope was to help students have a better understanding of God’s relationship with us and to reflect that in our lives,” Allison said.
While Freeman Academy students have Bible classes every day, this study provides an opportunity to process their faith with just peers.
“It was encouraging when friends share their faith,” Sun said. “It maked me want to trust God more.”
Sun and Allison had tailored the study to student needs and ended each session with requests and a closing prayer.
“I am convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love which Christ Jesus our Lord shows us.” Romans 8:38
I love driving. I love when it’s the perfect weather to have the windows down and the sunroof open, but I also love when it is the beginning of winter, and the snow is falling beautifully, but not blizzardy, so you can still drive and actually see where you are going. Now, am I a good driver? Well, yes, but it depends on who you ask. My love of driving has something to do with my earliest memories; driving home from church with a gospel CD playing on the stereo and my sisters and I in the backseat singing like there was no tomorrow. Many of my good memories happened while we were driving, and that probably is because of all the road trips my family and I have taken over the years. So far, I have been in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Tennessee, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and California. Each of those states has its own special “something,” and I have loved seeing what those “somethings” are.
One of the things that hasn’t changed since we first started going on fun road trips is prayer and the attention we give God. Every single road trip that I have taken with my family always starts and ends with a prayer of the rosary. It’s our way of preparing for the long journey ahead of us. Now, when driving anywhere, I have gotten into the habit of saying a little prayer before and after I have arrived.
This Bible verse stood out to me because I have found God’s love for me, for us, even while driving. It doesn’t matter where I am going to anymore or what I see; it could be a nice little house on the side of a highway or down the streets in Tennessee, where my older sister goes to college, and I still get a sense of peace. I feel calm, well, except when there’s a lot of traffic and the person in front of me shouldn’t be driving. I feel closer to God the further we are away from home.
You just have to look for his love in the people you see, the places you visit, and the journey it takes to get to wherever you go; it may take a while, but someday you’ll feel and appreciate it, and that is a blessing in itself.
“Lord, please help me to see your wonderful creations and feel the love that you have for me. Please keep me safe as I go on my journeys.”
Maria C is the middle daughter of Jesús and Dolores.
Psalm 107: 10-11, 13-14 (NIV) – “Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness, prisoners suffering in
iron chains, because they rebelled against God’s commands and despised the plans of the Most High…Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He
brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.”
Those of us who have studied our fair share of the Bible should know the classic Psalm
23; “The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads
me beside quiet waters…” This Psalm is used a lot in meditation because of this calm and
beautiful scene it paints, where we walk hand in hand with the Lord, observing the beauty in
everything around us.
Contrast that bright and colorful picture with the grim, greyscale image we see in Psalm
107. Here, we find ourselves in this dark, painful place where we feel tied down by ourselves
because of ourselves. Things look bleak, painful. These chains are said to be made of iron, but they really symbolize that one corrosive relationship in our lives, or that one job opportunity that
we just have to take, even if it is only for the money. All we see around us are iron chains because we do not want to see that the iron is something we put there ourselves.
The author of this Psalm is trying to show us that he has been there and he knows many
others that have, too. He is trying to show us that there is a way out. There is a way past these
binding chains, and that way is by redirecting our focus onto God. By chasing these fleeting
desires, we are twisting and turning, wrapping this chain around us until we cannot move
anymore. The only way to get out is to have someone undo them for us, and that someone is
none other than Christ.
God, thank you for meeting us where we are. I know that our lives are not always
beautiful. Things get grim and painful, and sometimes it feels like there is nothing to do but
suffer. Thank you for seeing this suffering and caring so much that you would pull us out, and
all we have to do is ask. Please keep your hand on us as we continue into the next week, and if we need your grace at this moment, lay it on our hearts to ask. Amen.
Son of Shawn and Heather Hofer, Noah is a high school junior at Freeman Academy. He
participates in several extracurriculars including soccer, golf, and theater
Growing up I finally became able to see the difference between a true friend and a fake friend. I had to learn the hard way to finally come to understand that not everybody would like me or care about me. Feelings of loneliness were part of my weeks and the desire for acceptance was chasing me on a daily basis even though I was surrounded by my so called “friends”. Trying to keep those toxic relationships made me feel little and unimportant. I grew out of it eventually by finding real friends. Yet, I still didn’t quite fully understand love and friendship. I had to go further back in my story to find my answers. In 1 John 4:19 it is said that “We love because he first loved us.”
This verse implies that we cannot understand love and love others without understanding God’s love. For God so loved the world that he gave his only son to die on a cross to carry all of our sins. God loves us and knows us from our mother’s wombs. He knows exactly how many strings of hair we have on our heads individually and see value in us. He knows our hearts, our feelings, desires and personalities and overlooks our trespasses as soon as we ask for forgiveness because he calls us his children and values us as such. His love was a sacrifice to save humanity. It is only when we understand this idea that we understand our value as children of God and it’s only then that we can love others with a sincere heart.
Loving God is loving ourselves, and loving ourselves calls to love others. Have we been giving that love back to God? Are we giving ourselves the same value as God gives us? Do we love others by giving them as much value as we deserve?
Dear God, thank you for the beautiful person that I am. I am grateful for your love and mercy that you show me day after day. I pray that you help me to love myself and love others just like you first loved me.
My name is Samuela N. I am from the Republic Democratic of Congo, which is a country in central Africa.
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13: “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to
do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their
toil — this is the gift of God.”
The late-seventeenth century polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz did everything under
the sun and then some. From philosophy to politics to engineering, if you can name it, Leibniz
probably did it. Through it all, his optimism shone bright. He believed that, out of all possible
worlds God could have created, ours is the best.
But he didn’t stop there. He was determined to make our “best” world even better.
Alongside Isaac Newton, Leibniz co-invented the branch of mathematics known as
calculus, which provides a systematic way to deal with problems that involve
constantly-changing quantities, like velocities that vary over time. However, while the word
calculus often conjures up images of mathematics, it can also be used to simply denote a
general method of computing something. After inventing the infinitesimal calculus of
mathematics, Leibniz began to wonder if he could invent another type of calculus — a type of
calculus that could be used to answer any and all questions about our world.
With that goal in mind, Leibniz set out to develop an entirely new language that,
eventually, even the massive mechanical calculators of his time could use in computations. If
anyone ever wondered whether a tomato was a fruit or a vegetable or if buying an extended
warranty would be worthwhile, Leibniz’s new calculus could be used to determine the answer.
There would be no need for endless debate on issues of ethics, for philosophers could simply
exclaim “Calculemus!” (“Let us calculate!”), set about calculating, and arrive at an unambiguous
answer. Using Leibniz’s computation-focused language, the very future itself could be accurately
and precisely predicted.
Leibniz never completed his ambitious project in his lifetime, but that’s fine with me. He
wasn’t afraid to dream big. He was okay with aiming for Mars and only reaching the Moon. He
was optimistic — and his optimism will never cease to amaze me.
You might never invent an entirely new branch of mathematics or a system that can
remove the ambiguity from life, but you can still strive to make this world — the best world of all possible worlds that God created — even better.
Prayer: “Architect of the Universe, we thank you for the magnificent world you have given us
to live in. We ask that you pour your love into our hearts, so that we might better serve our
brothers and sisters in Christ and establish your kingdom of heaven here on Earth. Amen.”