Guest / Limited Access /

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.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only Bookmarks
Quick reviews of The Wet Engine, Knitting, Her Heart Can See, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ.
RecommendedGlobal Evangelical Leaders: Trump’s Win Will Harm the Church’s Witness
Global Evangelical Leaders: Trump’s Win Will Harm the Church’s Witness
Conference call explores election consequences on evangelicals overseas.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickThe Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
The Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
How the New Testament offers a better, higher calling than the Declaration of Independence.
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.