Following God’s Plan
Not many freshmen in college have a plan beyond their first semester, but Monte Ashworth (Math Education ’91, M.S. ’93) did— even before he arrived on campus. “When I realized as a junior in high school that God had called me into teaching, I immediately knew I would need to get my master’s in education,” he said. “After a little research, I knew I wanted to attend PCC and planned to become a graduate assistant immediately after receiving my bachelor’s degree in math education.”
God continued to solidify this calling to Monte throughout his years in college. After graduation, he, along with his wife Angie (Elementary Education ’90), taught and served as a principal at Pensacola Christian Academy before accepting the call to go to Landmark Christian Academy in Louisville, Kentucky.
While serving staff, students, and their families as administrator, Monte also enjoys teaching. “I am very thankful that PCC trained me with two teaching fields,” he said. “However, in my 27 years of education, I have also needed to teach many classes outside my fields. I have been able to apply the methods I learned at PCC from one subject to others, and, combined with a lot of grace, God has been able to use me.”
Faithful in the Little Things
Immediately after graduating with a degree in biology education, Lee Atkinson (’98) returned to his home church as part-time staff while also teaching at the Christian school he had attended. After pursuing higher education at a local university, he married Bethany Chace (English Education ’97).
“Not long after this, some church members voiced a burden for us to start a Christian school in our church,” Lee said. “With this possibility before us, I realized a need for more education. Not wanting to end my educational experience with the experience I had in a state university, I chose to return to PCC and work on my doctorate in educational administration.”
In 2006, Plum Creek Christian Academy opened its doors with eight students. In those early years, Bethany did not have the opportunity to teach literature. Instead, her second teaching field, music, enabled her to teach elementary music and private piano lessons.
As more grades were added, however, Bethany was overjoyed to teach another one of her favorite subjects. She said, “Literature class provides an atmosphere that gives opportunity to point students to Bible truth as our objective standard. Engaging students in lively discussion that leads to the imparting of spiritual truth thrills me.”
Today, the school has grown to over 200 students with the first senior class set to graduate in 2020. “Our burden for Christian education was formed in our years at PCC, and it’s a privilege to spend and be spent in Christian education,” Lee said.
Doing What’s Difficult
While human nature can lead some to shy away from the uncomfortable, some actually seek out the more difficult tasks in hope of making an eternal difference. Jeff (Professional Writing ’95) and Ghada (Music Ed. ’97; Master’s ’00) Pribble are two such individuals.
During a trip to the Middle East to serve Syrian refugees, the couple saw firsthand the great need for Christian workers in that region, so they began to fast and pray, seeking God’s leading. “As we prayed, we found out about a Christian academy, through an online advertisement, started by a couple who has been involved in Christian education in the Middle East for about 30 years,” Jeff said. “We were the only people who saw the ad and responded, and here we are four years later!”
The school began with 40 students, and now entering their fifth year this fall, expect to have around 240 in attendance. The Pribbles, whose own children attend the academy, say that less than two percent of the student body are expatriates, with most coming from local Christian and Muslim families.
Jeff serves as the school principal, while Ghada teaches music. Last December, she put together a large Christmas musical focusing on the birth of Christ. Dressed in festive costumes, each class performed a special part while proud parents and family looked on—some hearing the true Christmas story for the first time.
“We’ve had a lot of exciting moments since we’ve been here,” Jeff said. “It’s always meaningful to see our students recite Scripture in a language they have just learned, and several of our local teachers have begun following the Lord faithfully as a result of our daily staff Bible studies.”
Day after day, year after year, these faithful workers continue to labor. Only eternity will tell just how far their influence reaches.
Read more about how God is directing and working through PCC faculty and alumni.