Parents encouraged by spiritual send off for college-bound kids
September 24, 2010
By Darla Martin Tucker
Some parents sat with arms wrapped around their nearly grown children, some had tears on their cheeks, some talked and laughed warmly with their freshmen sons and daughters in whom their fondest dreams reside.
They were all gathered at La Sierra University Church on Sept. 22, filling the sanctuary to its last pews for a special service of blessing, prayer and formal goodbyes that officially launched five days of IGNITE programs welcoming new students to La Sierra University.
The IGNITE program got underway Wednesday morning when students began moving into LSU’s residence halls. IGNITE concludes Sunday and involves orientations, activities and meals with freshmen divided into campus family groups. Activities include a talent show, a ‘Hello Walk’ to meet faculty and administrators, a Sabbath hike and Christian arts festival.
Wednesday’s blessings service for parents and freshmen, the first held for the annual IGNITE program, included talks by university President Randal Wisbey, La Sierra University Church Senior Pastor Chris Oberg, the School of Religion’s Dr. Maury Jackson and other leaders.
“You can rest assured at La Sierra we’ll live out our end of the contract,” to take care of your children, Jackson said. “Be at ease …and finally, trust God.”
Oberg talked about ‘sanctuary’, a place of safety as experienced by the character Esmeralda in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” after Quasimodo whisked her into a cathedral. She told the new students, “inside this sanctuary, on this campus, you are safe.” And regardless of past circumstances or problems at home, “God will have the last word on how much you are loved,” she said.
At the end of the program, La Sierra student leaders distributed flower seed packets to parents for planting or for display, as a symbol of their children and as a reminder to pray for their children and the university.
“Like these envelopes, your children are beautiful on the outside. But inside, each one is filled with gifts, talents, opportunities and countless possibilities,” said Yami Bazan, La Sierra’s vice president for student life. “You as parents have invested much to get your child to this point. We recognize your efforts and thank you for entrusting La Sierra University with your most prized possession. Please be assured that we know what they mean to you.”