March 22, 2022
From a Whisper to a Voice: Our First Out-of-State Fundraiser
Late February seems like a distant memory now as we complete the end of our two-week spring break. But on the 23rd of February, Liberty entered a new realm: raising funds outside of Minnesota! Very gracious Liberty grandparents hosted an event in Arizona and invited more than 80 people to their gorgeous venue, offering them delicious food and drink and a solution to our country’s problems—The Liberty Classical Academy Program.
Expecting only a 15 % attendance rate, I was stunned when I learned that more than 40 people had RSVP’d to attend. Clearly this group of individuals understood the seriousness of the troubles we’re facing as a country and the need for a solid K-12 educational experience.
But as bad luck would have it, only 4 days prior to the event, I began to get sick. I hadn’t been sick since last spring! I panicked at the thought that the whole event would get cancelled for my not being able to travel on the 22nd. Much prayer surrounded the next 4 days! First, by Monday my low-grade fever and headache had subsided, and I was left with minor cold symptoms. By Tuesday morning, the day of our flight, I had a slightly raspy voice. I spoke at the 52 Days of Prayer Celebration and shared my devotional about passive vs active faith. I had no idea that God would cause us to put that devotional into action to the degree we did. By the time our team arrived in AZ, I had absolutely no voice. Along with prayer, I consumed tea, honey, apple-cider vinegar—almost every concoction known to man in an attempt to get my voice back, but to no avail. Our team prayed over me as I wondered if someone else was supposed to speak. As I knelt in prayer Tuesday evening, I sensed the assurance that my voice would “turn on” at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. The event started at 5:30 p.m. and I was due to speak at 6 p.m. That didn’t leave much time for adjustments! We needed to exercise active faith.
Sure enough, I woke up Wednesday morning not any better, in fact even worse. Our team had been thrilled to find two humidifiers to counteract the dry desert air. And in God’s providence, in the desert where it rarely rains, I woke up to rain on Wednesday morning. I kept the door open so the moist air could enter the room. Still no voice by 9 a.m.,10 a.m.,11 a.m… By that time, Lauren Markell, our development director was nervous. She wondered if they should cancel the event. I knew we couldn’t do that after travelling so far with our whole team and knowing the sponsors were committed financially to the event.
After exhausting opportunities to have another team member speak, Lauren asked about a plan B. I shared that I had sensed God’s leading that my voice would work at 5 p.m. With saucer eyes, she simply declared, “OK, then!” I took a COVID test to ensure I was negative for COVID. That, along with the fact that I felt ok, other than my voice, allowed Lauren and the hosts to exhibit “active faith.” They hadn’t yet sent out the reminder email to the guests and almost sent one either cancelling the event or telling people it would be a different event than what we had planned. But their faith prompted them to trust God to fulfill his promise to turn on my voice and they sent the email as though nothing were amiss, saying, “See you at 5:30!” THAT is active faith. The farmer who plants the crops expects the rain. Passive faith has the farmer wait until the rain comes before planting the crops. I had nothing more than a whisper when they sent that email.
I learned at 12:30 p.m. that they had sent the email. I exclaimed, “Alleluia!” and it came out clear as day. Then, nothing. But I was absolutely certain, due to their faith, I would have a voice. I silently prayed and ran through my talk, rested, and got ready. Lauren worked out the details for me to come right before I needed to speak, rather than mingling beforehand. Sure enough, as God would have it, and as he promised, he worked a small miracle and gave me a perfectly strong voice to give my 40-minute talk AND to answer 20 minutes’ worth of questions afterwards! Then, I once again had no voice. But by then it didn’t matter. I mingled happily with my hoarse, whispery voice.
From that event we raised $45,000 for the Catalyst Campaign; ALL from new donors!! What satan intends for evil, God turns for good! This story only captures a tiny sense of the struggle that took place during those several days in Arizona. We had rain, snow, sleet, and hail…all on the day of the event. But it didn’t stop God from doing his work and bringing couples ready to back a powerful solution like the Liberty Classical Academy Program! Active faith is always better than passive faith.
November 30, 2021
The last several weeks have been a whirlwind! Could there be anything more exciting than God working the miracle of purchasing a building for Liberty Classical Academy?! As many have said, this has been a goal from the beginning and the beauty of watching God unfold his plan for Liberty’s future has been both humbling and invigorating!
After first believing we were to be over in the Lake Elmo area and pursing multiple sites around highway 36 and freeway 694, God made it clear that was not his plan. The clarity with which God revealed this was staggering to say the least. Every piece fell into place from a timing perspective, even the gift from an anonymous donor who upon seeing the Withrow school exclaimed, “I love the idea of more children receiving a Liberty education and this building would enable you to do that!” Yes, it sure does!
This will be a busy season for Liberty as we launch into working with an architect to develop a long-range master plan for the building that’s there now and for all the land surrounding it. Once we have the plan developed, we will begin the approval process with the city of Hugo which has already looked favorably upon having Liberty at the Withrow site.
By the fall, we plan to have everything in place to open our PreK-2nd grade program in the new space with room for a third section of each grade! Yes, more children will indeed, obtain a Liberty education; thanks be to God. In this season of gratitude, please join me in thanking God for the gift of a permanent facility in a magnificent countryside setting and be praying now for the additional families who will join the Liberty community.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mark 10:14
Liberty Classical Academy is home to approximately 60 new students this year! That in addition to all the new families who’ve joined us last year prompted me to provide a summary of our history and also a glimpse into our future so all our families can unite together moving forward.
It was a very humble beginning in the fall of 2003 for Liberty Classical Academy. With just 28 students combined into grades K-8 and an almost entirely volunteer though highly qualified staff, the school was small but exceeded expectations from the start. Liberty grew to 82 students by year three and needed to split into two churches in order to house the students. Though the school was growing, it was still very small but God had assured me and the rest of our team from the beginning that He planned to grow the school like an oak tree: the tap root and root structure develops first prior to seeing the leafing out of the tree on a large scale. That gave our team peace of mind not to worry about how large we were, but to focus solely on making our school the best it could be. We worked tirelessly on developing the Liberty Classical Academy program and developing the foundation of excellence upon which the school is now built.
After being housed in two locations for eight of the first eleven years the school was open, it was a tremendous gift to secure the current site within St. Pius X. The fall of 2014 was the first time it felt like a REAL school that housed a huge gymnasium with bleachers, locker rooms, a stage, etc. We were overjoyed and in our thanks to God, promised we’d never forget our humble beginnings.
After our first year at St Pius X, it finally became apparent that we were ready to focus on growth. We launched a three-year growth campaign in the fall of 2015 with a goal of 15% growth, three years in a row. We added a 52 Days of Prayer for Growth Campaign all three years and God amazed us with an average of 19% growth each year! We literally went from being a small school to a medium size school in just 3 years! While that was tremendous for the school, it also added some challenges from an administrative standpoint. After hiring a consultant, we restructured our administrative organization, hired an assistant headmaster to help me with the day-to-day operations of the school and implemented the broadened structure in the midst of COVID in July 2020!
With COVID and other cultural factors came more growth. Families were—and are—looking for a place that stays true to God, family, and country and Liberty is a safe haven in the cultural storm. Just this morning one of our new parents thanked me for this school, saying, “Liberty is a breath of fresh air!” I hear this over and over.
We are thrilled to welcome all our new families as well as our tried-and-true returning families. We look forward to the future as we seek a final destination for Liberty’s outstanding program. A place that will allow us to grow to the original goal of 800 students and will provide the space and means for a chapel, athletic fields, auditorium, environmental science space and the list goes on!
We want both new and old to join together in anticipation to see the fulfillment of the Liberty dream of our own campus and the ability to replicate our program in other places around the country. Liberty is a special place; our families are committed to excellence, their children, their faith, this country, and one another. We are blessed to have each one of you at Liberty!
The profile that measured college preparedness, for instance, demonstrated that ACCS alumni were by far the best prepared academically of all the groups; “….more than double the next highest group.” Regarding the Conservative and Traditional profile, once again ACCS alumni were more distinct from the other schools, demonstrating they hold more strongly to, “[the] values and practices that would be considered socially conservative.” With respect to being Independent Thinkers and Influential, ACCS students once again are far away higher in those measures. Given that debate, discussion and logic are significant components of a classical Christian education, it stands to reason they would value independent thinking since it is a natural result of respectful dialog and debate. ACCS alumni are more influential than any other of the school categories (by the largest margin of all of the seven profiles measured). This should be taken as strong assurance that the rhetoric level program, where students are taught to evaluate information, form their opinions and learn to persuade others with respectful and reasoned arguments, are extremely effective in developing students who go on to use these skills to influence others; classical Christian alumni were hand and foot over the other school categories on measures of influence.
These four measures were grouped together to provide “World-Impact Outcomes.” As part of the summary for these four, the report concludes, “ Their [ACCS alumni] strongest difference is in their willingness and ability to engage our culture as evidenced through their leadership positions held, greater connection with influential people and their desire and obligation to engage on social issues. Their academic preparation exceeds even private preparatory schools, and far more ACCS alumni earn high grades and a degree in college.”
Given Liberty’s meaningful purpose is to classically educate children to be moral leaders who impact the culture for Christ, it’s readily apparent that this model will produce fruit like no other school model available. It’s music to our ears! What a an incredible gift Liberty Classical Academy parents are giving their children—and ultimately, through their children’s influence, our culture.