Two of the thousands of people to march on Washington, D.C., in the annual March for Life this January were middle-school students from Northern Michigan Christian School. In connection with a project for their Grade 8 Bible class, Jamie DeKam of Prosper Christian Reformed Church in Falmouth, Mich., and Jenna Kuperus, whose father serves as pastor of Lucas CRC in McBain, Mich., traveled to the march, accompanied their mothers Mary DeKam and Michelle Kuperus. The girls presented photographs of their experience to their classmates last week.
The James Project was initiated several years ago by Bible teacher Shelly Jenema, a member of Vogel Center CRC. It is based on James 1:22: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (NIV). Middle school students working in groups choose a world or local issue they are passionate about, pursue research, and decide on an action they can do.
“Being a community of Christian practice is one of the core values of NMCS,” said Jennifer Closson, the school’s director of finance and development. “We believe that rather than just teaching students what those Christian practices are, we must give them opportunity to practice as well.”
“I believe the Bible talks about abortion in the Psalms and God values life within every person,” Jamie said. She and Jenna and their classmates Ally Krick and Brooke VanHaitsma, who participated in the project but were not able to travel for the march, decided they were passionate about abortion. “The main reason is that I wanted to stand up for the unborn because they can’t stand up for themselves,” said Jenna. “And also because I feel like this is something that a lot of people, especially those in the pro-choice movement, aren’t very well educated about, and I wanted to spread awareness.”
The girls earned their travel expenses for the trip by doing jobs around the school that a donor’s contribution paid for. “Everyone we told was really supportive of the idea,” Jenna said. “They were glad that we chose to do this for something we believed,” Jamie added.
The drive from Michigan to D.C. was 12 hours. The girls and their moms traveled from Thursday to Saturday and stayed with a family from Silver Spring (Maryland) CRC. Other James Project service works at NMCS included food pantry collection and sending toys to a Dominican Republic mission.