Eighteen-year-old Lauren Tomasik had a vision. This Wheaton Academy senior wanted to see her Christian high school raise $75,000 to build a medical clinic in Zambia to combat HIV/AIDS. And she wanted the money to come from the pockets of her 575 fellow students.

This was no ordinary vision. But lately this had been no ordinary school, considering that in the past three years these students in Chicago's western suburbs raised nearly $250,000 for HIV/AIDS relief in Africa. Most of it came out of their own pockets.

"God has called this school to do this project," said Tomasik, describing a student body whose members encourage each other to forgo movies, Starbucks runs, and even Christmas presents and prom dresses in order to use that money to provide Zambian peers with education and food. "Living in Wheaton, it's so easy to be focused on your own needs and live in the Wheaton bubble," she said of life in her affluent town, well known for its evangelical subculture. "But I have been blessed so that I can bless others."

Few might expect to find simplicity, sacrifice, and compassion among teenagers. "To me, these are difficult things for a Christian suburban teenager to grasp," said Academy chaplain Chip Huber. "We are a blessed people on our campus, no doubt about it. But instead of soaking it up, we're doing something—taking our faith and making it active."

Sacrificial Giving


The story that transformed an upper-middle-class high school into a model for sacrificial giving began on a retreat in the Colorado mountains in summer 2002. Student leaders gathered to plan how to guide their campus spiritually that school year. They tossed around familiar ideas—prayer groups and breakfasts. Something was lacking.

"We knew what was ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

June
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Also in this Issue
Bookmarks Subscriber Access Only
Quick reviews of The Wet Engine, Knitting, Her Heart Can See, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ.
RecommendedWhat You Probably Don’t Know about ‘The Least of These’
What You Probably Don’t Know about ‘The Least of These’ Subscriber Access Only
A more biblically accurate understanding of Jesus' words in Matthew 25.
TrendingThe Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
The Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
How the former FBI director’s interest in Reinhold Niebuhr shaped his approach to political power.
Editor's PickSasse: Adolescence Is a Gift, but Extended Adolescence Is a Trap
Ben Sasse: Adolescence Is a Gift, but Extended Adolescence Is a Trap
The Nebraska senator wants parents to get serious about shepherding kids into responsible adulthood.
Christianity Today
Raising the Compassion Bar
hide thisAugust August

In the Magazine

August 2005

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.