Coos Bay is a long way from Portland. But there is always a home to be found when you’re an Adventist! PAA’s basketball teams traveled to Coos Bay to play in the State Tournament last month. PAA athletes, students, parents, teachers, and fans, were welcomed with open arms by the Coos Bay SDA church and community.
The group of fans was not only given a place to sleep in the church, but thanks to several Adventist community connections with area business owners, they were also provided free showers at the local community center. The church opened their youth room and loft for students to share a very meaningful vespers on Friday evening.
The girls basketball team was sponsored by a local floral shop. The owners were so welcoming and made the girls feel at home and loved.
Sabbath morning was an experience of unity! “PAA’s presence brought a bright energy to the church that morning,” said Principal Dan Nicola. “Coos Bay is still waiting for their new pastor so the students stepped up and led the service that morning. Pastor Monte had arranged for two PAA worship leaders to do song service. Those students invited the girls and boys basketball teams to lead with them. They were more than willing and did a wonderful job. In fact, all of our students were quick to offer ideas and be spontaneous that morning.” “It was exciting because a lot of it wasn’t planned,” said Kaitlyn Knapp, PAA senior and varsity player. “It was great to see how it all came together.”
Worship music wasn’t the only thing PAA shared. Students told the Children’s story, favorite texts, and special music. “Between the athletes and fans, we realized we had about half of the gospel choir students,” said Mr. Nicola. “It was the students of Gospel Choir who decided to put together a few songs for special music.”
“There was a man sitting in the front row,” recalls Ty Johnson, PAA Vice Principal and girls varsity coach. “At one point, he pulled out a trumpet and started playing along with our choir. As it turns out, he wasn’t even a church member. He was just driving by the church and saw the sign welcoming PAA to worship and so he stopped in. His son attends a Christian school and he was curious about PAA.”
The small church of Coos Bay also fed this big crowd. The hungry fans and athletes outnumbered the church four to one, but God can feed thousands with five loaves and three fish, and he certainly delivered that Sabbath as well!
PAA basketball season came to a final close late that night. With the many fans who traveled to cheer on our kids, the energy was awesome for our players. They powered to the end. The boys took 5th place and girls finished 6th and PAA teams and fans had happy and full hearts.
The season is one for the record books; not just because PAA teams played well, but because of the spiritually dramatic finish. Our memories will long outlive any award. We store up treasures in heaven. From friendships with supportive fans and strangers alike, we are all connected through the vast family of God.