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Northwest Christian School
Dear NCS family,
As some are aware, I spent part of last week in Washington D.C. as a member of the ACSI Legal Legislative team.  While there, this team of school administrators is briefed on the latest threats to religious liberty and we have opportunity to spend time with members of congress who are working to craft the legislative foundations upon which are built so many of the social-cultural constructs which impact our society.  Based on what you watch on the nightly news or hear on the radio, you might think that I would have returned from D.C. very, very discouraged.  In fact, as you watch the nightly news, you might be tempted to think that the cause of Christ is all but dead in the world today.  You might be led to believe that His church is a wilting daisy, D.O.A., and being quickly prevailed upon by the gates of hell (to borrow a phrase from you-know-Who).  But, I want to assure you:  this perception could not be further from the truth.

In fact, there has never been a time in history where the cause of Christ has ever been so alive.  Less than a century ago, 80% of the world's Christians were found in the U.S. and Europe.  Today, the balance has shifted and 60% of Christ's bride resides in the developing world.  During this past century, Africa has gone from being 10% Christian to almost 50%--nearly 350 million Africans lay hold of the name of Christ today.  In Central and South America, Christ followers have increased threefold in two decades.  South Korea is about to surpass the U.S. for sending missionaries out into the world.  (The most alarming part of this particular shift is the increasing number of foreign missionaries who now consider the U.S. to be the most fertile mission field available!)  Although severely limited by their government, current estimates are that there are now over 100 million Chinese Christians worshiping in illegal, underground churches.  If the explosive growth of Christendom in China holds, inside of two decades China will surpass the U.S. to become the "most Christian" country on the planet.  As the numbers of Christians in the world continue to rise explosively, secular atheism has set itself upon a tragic crash course.  For example, in Russia, one of the most atheist nations in the world, abortions now outpace live births 2-to-1 and, as a result, the nation's population plummets nearly three quarters of a million people each year.  Similarly, secular societies in Canada, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand are seeing their portion of the global population pie shrink precipitously.  If we could just put the talk show pundits and TV talking heads on hold for a moment, we would discover that the global growth of Christianity is outpacing every other world religion bar none.

But, I don't need numbers and statistics to tell me that Jesus meant what He said in Matthew 16:18:  the gates of hell would never prevail against His church.  Why?  Because I work at Northwest Christian School--where the last two international missions trips were not organized by administration or faculty--they were organized by students.  This past summer's trip to Rwanda with City of Joy and last week's trip to Rocky Point with 1Mission didn't happen because of me, a teacher, or any member of the school's administrative team .  They happened in spite of us.  They were organized by students who took what they were learning in the classroom, decided to trust it completely, and set out to put their growing faith in action.  As you read this letter today, forty students--nearly ten percent of our high school--are at the Kids Kingdom orphanage in Imuris, Sonora, giving up their weekend to serve amidst the "least of these".  These kids are relentless.

Because of students who have a passion for their Savior and yearn to make a difference in the world for His name, I'm committing this particular issue of our monthly Spotlight newsletter to celebration--a celebration that the Great Commission was not cancelled in spite of what you may hear out of Washington D.C., see on the TV, or read on the internet.  In fact, as you read through these next several articles, I suspect you you will come to agree with me:  the cause of Christ has never been so alive.

Grateful for the opportunity to serve this school and your family,
Geoff Brown
Northwest Christian School
(623)225-5573 (cell)

Students Lead the Charge to Build a Home in Mexico   

As part of a completely student-led trip, two dozen Crusaders worked with 1Mission   

"My favorite thing about this particular missions trip," says high school principal Josh Schlesinger, "is that it was initiated, planned, and organized by a group of our seniors.  I love the fact that we're seeing leadership from our seniors at such an early, busy part of their school year.  These students are engaged in an activity that will be life-changing and, impressively, they have such a strong sense of priority.  They literally took the lead on every aspect of the trip.  That worked with 1Mission to land a date and a partnership with a needy family, they booked the vans, collected the funds, and recruited the chaperones."

The trip is the fifth 1Mission trip for Crusaders since the spring of 2015, each trip culminating with the completion of a home for a needy, but capable family.

Crusaders Travel to Rwanda in Summer 2016, Prepping to Return in Summer 2017   

The upcoming missions trip is one of four international missions opportunities being prepped for summer 2017     
During a high school chapel early in the spring of 2016, missionaries Todd and Andria Ellingson shared what the Lord was doing through the City of Joy school and orphanage in Rwanda.  Their brief time of testimony was enough to stir the hearts of several of the high school students in attendance.  These students later approached the Ellingsons about serving the following summer as part of their ministry.  These six students spent nearly two weeks leading Vacation Bible Schools, playing with the students, and actively engaged in numerous work projects on the City of Joy campus.  Now, as part of four different international missions trips in the summer of 2017, members of the group are preparing to return with a larger group led by Chuck and Nicole Hunter.  To enjoy highlights of the summer 2016 trip, take a moment to enjoy the video below.

Rwanda 2016 Summer Mission Trip Recap
Rwanda 2016 Summer Mission Trip Recap

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Junior Bible Teacher Matt Diaz Invites High Schoolers to Share God's Love in Cambodia    

The group will be working with Rapha House and sharing God's love with young people rescued from human trafficking       

During the spring of 2016, junior Bible teacher Matt Diaz introduced his junior class to Rapha House as a part of the spring's annual Jog-a-thon fundraiser.  The students responded in a way that surprised even Mr. Diaz, desiring to learn more about the the ministry of Rapha House.

Based in Cambodia, Rapha House is a Christian non-profit ministry committed to the rescue and rehabilitation of children snared in human trafficking.  Additionally, their mission encompasses using short-term missions groups that serve to assist in the prevention of children falling into trafficking by interacting with those able to demonstrate the all-encompassing love of Christ.  Mr. Diaz traveled to Cambodia during the summer of 2016 as part of a missions 'scouting' trip in order to lay the groundwork for Crusaders to participate in the mission of Rapha House in the summer of 2017.

As part of that trip, students will meet and interact with young people who have been rescued from slavery.  As well, they will be working in three different Cambodian cities, including the capital city Phnom Penh, where Rapha has homes set up for recovery and rehabilitation.  Students will also have the opportunity to learn about the impact of the genocide caused by the Khmer Rouge.

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Shine Dentistry        

NCS Theater Department Provides Memorable Opportunity for Families to Enjoy "Charlotte's Web"
On October 29th and 30th, the NCS Theater Department brings to us the beloved story of Charlotte's Web, brought to life with wonderful costumes, puppets. and imaginative staging. 

This year's production features a unique twist on venues.  Our director, Mary Jane McCloskey, has fostered an exciting new relationship with MacDonald's Ranch in Scottsdale and they have enthusiastically added the production to the list of attractions at their annual Pumpkin Patch Festival.  The two events, Pumpkin Patch Festival and school play, will make for a wonderfully memorable experience!

Because of our partnership, we are able to offer discounted admission coupons to the festival in conjunction with the pre-order purchase of show tickets which makes for affordable family fun.  We hope you'll plan to spend the day with us at the Ranch, visit the petting zoo, pan for gold, navigate the hay maze, take a train ride and stopover at the pumpkin patch, and of course, enjoy the show.

If that's not enough to "chew", join us at the Ranch Saturday evening for an exclusive after-hours showing of Charlotte's Web for NCS friends and family only.   Need just a bit more?  Enhance your evening experience with a delicious pre-show BBQ buffet catered by Blazin' Barbeque . . . but don't tell Wilbur!  He's "SOME PIG," "TERRIFIC," "RADIANT" and "HUMBLE."
Order online at fee applies).
Learn more about Macdonald's Ranch:
Special thanks to our show sponsor, Desert Hills Animal Clinic!
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MVP Orthopedics and Sports Medicine 081613     

Plans for Multi-year Campus Improvements to be Unveiled at 2nd Annual "Wild About NCS" Dinner and Auction
The sold out dinner/auction will be the next step in continuous efforts to improve the campus      

The second annual "Wild About Northwest Christian School" fundraising dinner and auction takes place on Saturday, October 1st at the Phoenix Zoo.  Like last year's event, this one is also sold out--several weeks sooner than last year's event!  At the dinner, Mr. Brown will be joined by Andy Carr, the vice-president of Feed My Starving Children, and several others, who will be sharing the impact that NCS students are having in the world.  As an additional part of the program for the fun evening, the school will be working to paint the picture of how campus improvements--including two new buildings, improved lunch area, new open areas for play and practice, and improved traffic flow--will be addressed in the next several years.

"Here's the thing that I'm excited about," explains Mr. Brown, "Our plan does not hinge on an aggressive fundraising campaign nor does it involve big school debt.  Instead, the plan that we will be unfolding is patient and pragmatic.  The funding is based on a plan that was generated from our historical averages.  In other words, the only fundraising that we are doing is what we have always done annually:  our auction, a year-end giving opportunity, and the Jog-a-thon in the spring.  Given very conservative estimates of these existing efforts and a patient timeline, our families will see their school campus improving--starting in May--in ways that do not involve us badgering folks for donations.  Also, we're not 'growing' the campus, we are only improving it.  The enrollment we have today is the enrollment we'll have in the future.  We won't be building on the back of growing enrollment.  If we're patient and wait on God to provide in His timing, He will guide this effort!  For example, I am thrilled to report that we already have the cash in hand for the next building on this campus."
After the dinner and auction on Saturday evening, Crusader families need only to visit their mailbox or peruse their inbox as that the school will be sending out literature and a video to unveil the exciting improvements.
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NCS Secondary Working with NSAA to Launch eSports
Wait a this video games?  Yep.   

Second only to the Super Bowl, which championship event has, since 2013, annually pulled more viewers than the NBA Finals or the MLB World Series?  eSports.  Centered around online, PC, and console-based video games, eSports has rapidly risen to become one of the most popular competitions in contemporary culture.  eAthletes, as they are termed, have numbered over 200 million since 2014.  

"The challenge," explains superintendent Geoff Brown, "is that too many young people are wrestling with what it means to be a gamer who understands moderation.  The temptation for students is to engage in a digital environment and then disengage from healthy social spheres.  The solution isn't to completely unplug students.  Rather, we want to coach them towards development of their own self-perpetuated healthy boundaries."  That NCS effort will include the formation of two eSports teams--one in the middle school, another in the high school.  There will be three seasons--fall, winter, and spring--with the fall being a 'trial' season.  "In the first season," says Geoff, "we'll see Crusader gamers going up against a team from Scottsdale Christian."  Ultimately, the design is for the Northwest Christian teams to take on teams from other middle schools and high schools.  As well, we'll be excited to see these Crusaders participate in tournaments."
Spotlight on Students:
Senior Matthew Johnson Named Commended Student in National Merit Scholarship Program

This week, high school principal Josh Schlesinger announced that senior Matthew Johnson has been named a Commended Student in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program.  A Letter of Commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which conducts the program, has been presented to Matthew.  The commendation means that Matthew placed in the top 5% of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2017 competition by taking the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. 

"The young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success," commented a spokesperson for the NMSC.  "The students represent a valuable national resource.  Recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation.  We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success."

"What I love about Matthew," said superintendent Geoff Brown, "is that academics is only a part of what I know God will use in Matthew to impact the world.  He has a heart for others and is a profoundly deep thinker.  Matthew was in Mexico last weekend using his skills to build a house for a needy family.  Every Friday afternoon, he's one of a small group of young men who lead our elementary robotics club--connecting with younger students, teaching them from an area of personal passion and expertise, and using God's word to grow those in the club.  As a school, we're very proud of him!" 

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September 30, 2016
Vol. 7, Issue 2  
Ephesians 4:29
" Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."

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Limit one per family.
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