A Father’s Reaction

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Circa 1990. Report Card Day…this was a National Holiday for some and a National Day of Mourning for others. For me, it was the latter. I was not always the best student, not because I couldn’t be but because I didn’t try. “Potential” was my middle name. At parent/teacher conferences, my teachers always told my parents that I had so much potential and that if I would just develop it and use it, I would one day do great things. As I look back on those days of yesterday, I have come to my own conclusions. It wasn’t about living up to my potential. I was just lazy, plain and simple.

That laziness reared its ugly head my 9th grade year. When report cards came out at the end of the school day, my hands were sweaty and trembling as I unfolded the card and quickly scanned my grades. There it sat…a 59/F in P.E.! Yes, you heard me right! I made an F in Physical Education. Now, you must be wondering…how in the world does someone FAIL P.E.? Well, I’ll tell you how…you don’t dress out for weeks because you don’t “feel like it.” Lazy with a capital “L.” My heart sunk when I saw the F. This shouldn’t have come as a complete surprise as I knew what the consequences would be. Yet, I erred on the side of miracles, hoping that Coach Brenda Mayes would have an ounce of sympathy. Nope. Nada. Zilch. I got what I had earned, and now I had to face the wrath of my father.

Because my father worked the late shift, he wouldn’t actually get home until after midnight. I had already shown my mother the report card, and she was disappointed, but I knew this disappointment would be nowhere close to my father’s anger. That night, as instructed, I left my report card on the kitchen table for my dad to see. I went to bed praying that he would not be mad at me.

The next morning, my father watched as I walked into the kitchen for breakfast. A lump formed in my throat as he looked at me and said in a deep, commanding tone, “Have a seat.” I’m dead meat! I thought to myself. As I braced myself for the stern talking to, I was surprised at what came out of his mouth next. Instead of yelling at me, he did the unexpected. He encouraged me. That’s right…you heard me correctly! He encouraged me. I was stunned. I even questioned his parenting…. “You mean you’re not going to fuss at me, to punish me, to take away all the things I love?” He shook his head. “No,” he said calmly. “I want you to know something. I believe in you. I know that God has something special in store for you because only someone bold and courageous would EVER do what it takes to fail P.E. So, I’m not going to fuss at you. Instead, I’m going to encourage you to use the gifts of courage and boldness for God’s glory. He will honor that.”

I walked away from that conversation with ambivalence. I felt bad for making the F but I felt even worse knowing that I had obviously disappointed my father and yet, instead of scolding me, he encouraged me. I can’t explain how that one incident changed my entire mindset, but it did. Now, I felt like I had to prove to him that he was right. I am somebody. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and God had a purpose and a plan for me.

Just a year later, my father passed away from lung cancer. But, I will never forget the huge grin on his face when I shared my last report card with him before he passed away. I had made all A’s. And his words… “Right on! Right on!” will be forever etched into my memory. I had made my father proud, and it all started with a tiny seed of encouragement.

I share this story to encourage you to do the same.

Teachable moments are all around us, and if given the opportunity, taking advantage of those moments may impact someone for a lifetime. We are commanded in Hebrews 3:13 to “encourage one another daily.” I am thankful that I work at a school where our teachers encourage their students and remind them that they, too, are fearfully and wonderfully made. God has a plan for them, and praise Jesus, one day we will see that plan come to fruition.

Thank you, Shoals Christian parents, for entrusting your children with us. Please continue to lift us up, to pray for us, as we carry out the Great Commission.


Felicia Jones, Head of School

It’s About Jesus, Not About Us

Updated to include Day 7 at the bottom

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SCS Alum Kalyn Davis (’14) is a Pharmacy student at Samford, and is currently on a medical mission trip in Nicaragua. She’s sharing trip highlights with us via email and allowing us to post them on our blog.

Nicaragua Medical Mission trip 2017

August 19, Day 1: 

Hola! Thank you in advance for your prayers, your love, and your encouragement! We have safely arrived in Nicaragua, and we are currently in route to our mission site in Somotillo.

Today has been filled with traveling, nerves, excitement, and more traveling. Throughout the numerous hours in the airport and the bus ride, I have been able to get to know the UAB students more personally. I am looking forward to forming closer relationships with them as the week progresses.

It is currently 9:00pm (10 CT) and we are still in route. The weather has become quite stormy, mainly extremely intense lightning and some light rain. Ironically, the lightning is absolutely beautiful. It becomes dark here much earlier in the night than in Alabama. Each time the lightning illuminates the sky, the rolling mountains in the landscape are revealed for just a fleeting moment. It makes me excited to see it all in the daylight tomorrow.

My update for today simply put: we arrived safely as well as all of our luggage and supplies!

Tomorrow’s schedule includes unpacking and organizing the supplies within the medical clinic, organizing the pharmacy, visiting a village, and attending a Sunday afternoon church service.

Things to pray for Day 2: 


Calmed nerves 


Good weather

Good attitudes 


That I don’t bite my nails (silly, but serious because don’t want to get sick!) 

God’s will to be done (Most Importantly! ️) 

Looking forward to what tomorrow will bring!

We will be up bright and early!

August 20, Day 2: 

What a day! Today was spent organizing, planning, playing with children, and attending a church service.

The morning began early, at 7 am with a devotional by our missionary leader, Dr. Donald Gillette, along with wonderful coffee and hot breakfast! We then began to unpack and prepackage/label all of the medicine that we will be distributing in the clinic this week! The students did a wonderful job with each task I asked of them, and it was fun playing the role of a “real life pharmacist!”

After that long process came another authentic Somotillo meal for lunch! Again, the food was great and the cake was out of this world delicious (a cross between a carrot cake and a cinnamon coffee cake). After lunch, we loaded into trucks and headed to the village of La Pascula. Along the way, as the trucks passed houses, children would run to the side of the road waving because they knew these trucks… and they knew these trucks meant candy! It was fun to see their faces light up as we threw out the treats.

Upon our arrival at the village, about 1:30pm, we were welcomed with hugs and cheers! Immediately the kids wanted to interact with us,play soccer, etc. I helped several little girls make bracelets! One native little girl, named Elizabeth, 10 years old, decided to sing a song for everyone, completely in English! I was so impressed! It was very hot out,  and after about an hour or so, it began to rain. Upon the rain we left the village.

The church service began around 6:30pm and was truly an awesome experience, hearing the same scriptures and songs in another language. Wow! What a good reminder of what is important. Someone let the word out that we had a few “singers” in the group, me included in that category, so we threw together a praise song and it was fun to sing for the people. During the church service, the pastor said something that stuck out to me. He said, “Today, we are here, different people, different countries and languages, but only one reason to live and to praise, and that is Jesus!”

Overall, today was a great warm up for the chaos that the clinic will bring tomorrow. I enjoyed meeting each villager, and they really blessed me as much as we hopefully blessed them.

Prayers for Day 3: 

Guidance and clarity

Lots and lots of patience 

Good attitudes

Good weather 

Safe travels for the patients coming to our clinic 

Jesus to show up big! ️  

August 21, Day 3:

Happy Eclipse Day!

This morning, we had breakfast over a devotional led by one of the students, Lauren. She spoke about how although we may be able to heal or help sickness, Jesus is the only one who can really heal you in this world. A great start to a day in the clinic.

At 9:00am it was time to open the clinic. This soon became mass chaos. As there were several patients waiting to be seen, and many many prescriptions to fill.

The Health Department showed up to check our credentials and supplies… this process took around 45 minutes and while they were there we were not allowed to dispense any medicines. This put us behind greatly. However, although it was chaotic, extremely hot, and stressful, we were able to serve just around 150 patients in around 4 hours! The UAB students and my interpreters were so helpful and I couldn’t of made it today without them! Each patient was extremely appreciative! It was a wonderful feeling to be able to bring them some relief by providing free medicine!

Overall, it was a day filled with a lot of stress, a test of my endurance, hard work, so much sweat, standing for 8 hours, and my first trial run as a real life pharmacist!!

Oh yeah, and we had ice cream cones after dinner! 🙂

Prayers for Day 4:

Guidance for the doctors 

Health and unity for our team 

Good weather

Patience, good attitudes, positivity 

Safe travels for patients coming to our clinic

Jesus to shine!!⭐️

Thank you for following me on this adventure!

With love,


August 22, Day 4:

We began the clinic at 9am and continued until 4pm. As we walked up to the clinic at 9:00, there was already a line around the building… however, several children began running and high fiving each of us… giving me the encouragement I needed for the hard day I knew was coming.

I still am in disbelief that I am running my own pharmacy, making the decisions, confirming dosings, etc. It is extremely hot in the “pharmacy” and the sweating is no joke! Each UAB student that rotates through the pharmacy with me to work has left saying “Wow! That was really some hard work!”

To be quite honest, as amazing as this experience is, it is actually very challenging for me. Considering I haven’t had all of my classes and am not a pharmacist, this is one tough task that seriously cannot be messed up. My main concern going into this trip was dispensing medicine to babies. We are treating several infants, and luckily there is a wonderful neonatologist (who is a close friend) on our team that I have as a reference.

I don’t say all of this to make you feel nervous for me, I say this to confirm that God really has his hand over this team and this trip. He knew what I would be capable of, and he knew what I would need. I can feel your love and prayers from thousands of miles away, silently encouraging me to keep going, and telling me that I CAN do this! And, ultimately, it is going really well, and we have seen around 400 patients in 2 days!

I am thankful for this experience, each person I have met, and am excited to begin again in the morning.

Prayers for Day 5:

Unity for our team as we grow tired

Good weather 

Continued good health 

Peace and patience 

Peace and guidance for our village ministry teams 

God’s love to shine through each of us! ⭐️

PS: We had pancakes for breakfast, chocolate cake at lunch, and “country fried” steak and rice for dinner…. needless to say that was a good addition to a stress filled day!

Until tomorrow,


August 23, Day 5: 

Hola amigos!

This was our third full day of the clinic so we may finally have gotten the hang of it all!

The morning began with a wonderful breakfast as always! Today, we took students to the local radio station that broadcasts to 3 countries. We have been doing this each morning actually, but today, I was invited to go along! Two other girls and I sang two songs! And we also got to share special parts of our lives and our faith. It was a very special experience to be heard by people all across Nicaragua and other countries.

The pharmacy ran steady all day as usual. Again, the students were a wonderful help working as my “techs!” We are beginning to run low on several medicines and ointments. At first this made me highly frustrated. As I began to think about what we should do I remembered that this means that several people have been helped. They have been given relief. They are feeling better because of what we were able to give them! This was so encouraging.

To top off the day, the power went out the last 30 minutes of clinic and it began a torrential downpour. We simply turned on our flashlights and filled the last prescriptions.

Dinner was spaghetti! Yum!!

And each night we have been listening to the doctors share their cases and their experiences with us, it has been really wonderful.

This experience has been a continuous learning process. I am so thankful for each moment and each person serving alongside of me.

Again thank you for the love and prayers! Keep them coming!

Prayers for Day 6: 

To be able to find uses for the medicines we do still have stock of! 



Good attitudes 

That it is all about Jesus and not about us️

August 24, Day 6:

I cannot believe that today was our last full day of the medical clinic! I also cannot believe that we saw around 300 people today! Needless to say, it was a busy busy day in the farmacia!

We began this morning having no power. Our little “camp” was running on a generator, but this meant that the clinic would be without power. Around 8:30am, right around time to open up the clinic, God decided to flip on the power! I sure am glad, because we saw so many patients in need of relief. There have been several cases of pink eye (praying our team stays clear) and many types of rashes and pain. Lots of coughing cases also.

During the lunch break, we all played a game called “Bananagrams” … similar to scrabble and so much fun! The afternoon shift was crazy. Lots of prescriptions to fill and less medications to fill them with. The power flickered again today a few times during the clinic, but all was well!

It truly has been an amazing week! I have been able to befriend so many of the UAB girls, and am glad to have met them all! Just sharing stories and chatting with them has been great.

I am sad that tomorrow is our last full day here in Nicaragua, but I am proud of the work we have accomplished.

Prayers for Day 7: 
Good weather 
No pink eye cases for our team members 
To keep power here, and to restore power in town 
Good attitudes
Jesus to soften our hearts and the hearts of these special people ️

August 25, Day 7:
I cannot believe this is my final update from Somotillo! This week flew by! I have completely enjoyed my stay here in Nicaragua, but am ready to get back to the states.
Today I was able to get off the “(ph)Farm” and we took a trip to the Pacific Ocean!
It was so great to just enjoy the outdoors and the beautiful creation! An awesome ending to the week for sure.
A good word to describe this trip: growth
Not only have I grown this week immensely as a student pharmacist, but I have grown spiritually and mentally. I have learned how to truly rejoice when I would of rather wished to just give up. Each student I was able to work alongside this week was so encouraging! Them believing in me was something I truly needed along this journey. The “team” atmosphere was a vital part of our success.
Total number of patients we were able to treat: 1010!!!! I am blown away! How amazing is that!!??
This week has been focused around love, joy, being selfless, positive, patient, kind, gracious, generous, humble, and sacrifice.
Each of those words are something that I easily can lose track of during the highly stressful lifestyle of pharmacy school. As I am preparing myself to start my P2 year on Monday, I cannot think of a better way I could have spent my last week of summer.
THANK YOU for your prayer, your love, and your support. This is something totally new for me, and I know I wouldn’t of made it through without you all.
Until tomorrow,

Why Christian Schooling


With a little over a month left, the 2016-2017 school year is quickly coming to a close. As we prepare for re-enrollment and open enrollment, it’s an excellent opportunity for us to share with our friends and family why we believe in Christian education, and more importantly, why we believe in Shoals Christian School.

-Felicia Jones, Head of School

The choice you make for your children’s education shapes them academically, spiritually, and in their worldview and skills. At Christian schools, the faculty and staff are equipped to address each of these developing areas of a child’s life. These schools take seriously the responsibility to develop children’s minds, but they don’t distance God from academics. They know that developing skills in young people is essential to helping them reach their God-given potential.

– From ACSI “Why Christian Schooling”

Whether you’ve been committed to Christian education for years or whether it’s new to you, I’m sure you’ve heard the debates about Christian education. I’d like to take the opportunity to respond to four of the most common preconceptions or misconceptions about Christian schooling and speak out on behalf of Shoals Christian School, a school that I have been a part of for fifteen years and have personally witnessed the success of many graduates.

Preconception/Misconception #1: “I don’t want to shelter my kids from the real world.”

Our students are not sheltered from the real world. In fact, they are better prepared for it because of the biblical worldview from which they have been taught. This twenty-first century real world is one informed by secularism. Therefore, it’s vital now, even more than ever, that our students are taught to become discerning Christian thinkers. A true Christian education prepares rather than shelters them from the secular culture.

Preconception/Misconception #2: “I want my children to have better educational opportunities. The options are more limited at Christian schools.”

On the contrary, the options are not limited. At Shoals Christian, for example, our college-preparatory courses are rigorous and challenge students to a high academic standard. Students have an opportunity to take college (dual credit) courses, AP courses, as well as participate in athletics and the arts. Without a doubt, rewards are reaped and students enter college more than prepared for what lies ahead in their college career.

Preconception/Misconception #3: “I want my child to be a witness in public schools.”

Personally, I think this is an honorable thing to say. Of course, we want our children to be witnesses in the world, to be salt and light. However, they need to be equipped. Becoming a disciple requires the student to become a learner. To be disciples of Jesus, students must learn the doctrines of Christianity, be ready to defend the truth, and recognize heresy a mile away.

Christian schooling is an extension of Christian churches and good parenting. It simply allows the infallible Word of God to penetrate all areas of students’
lives, including their education. At Shoals Christian School, students are equipped with the ammunition of God’s Word to aid them in witnessing to others.

Preconception/Misconception #4: “Christian schools are hypocritical.”

This is one preconception/misconception I hear the most. And why is that? Christian schools do not claim to be perfect or without their share of sinners anymore than churches do. The same issues that plague public schools affect Christian schools as well. But, what makes us different is how those situations are handled. Christian schools have a unique opportunity to deal with
these issues by enforcing accountability and encouraging repentance and restoration.

Christian educators help cultivate a worldview in which God has His rightful place, and they look to the Bible for guidance in answering life’s big questions. These teachers enhance children’s spiritual development in an intentional, nurturing manner.

– From ACSI “Why Christian Schooling”

Don’t get me wrong. I am not responding to these ideas because I believe public schooling is of the devil. I am a product of public schooling. And yes, I turned out just fine. However, I do hope to create a clearer vision of the purpose of genuine Christian schooling: to integrate God’s Word into every facet of students’ lives, equipping them with the knowledge to boldly use their God-given talents to impact the world for Jesus Christ.
Felicia Jones
Head of

Visit  our website to find out more about SCS!

Blood Brothers

Thoughts on Lasting Friendships from SCS Alum (’15) Josh Vardaman

Thoughts From A Duck Blind

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” Proverbs 18:24 (ESV)

I have been blessed beyond measure with an incredible group of friends. Anyone who has ever met me knows that I’m an extreme extrovert and even though I’ll probably forget your name and monopolize the conversation with stories or jokes, I won’t forget your face and we’ll be friends by the time we quit talking. I firmly believe that God blessed me with the ability to talk to people so that I can share His love with people I encounter by sheer happenstance.

Until college, I never had more than 25 people in my grade at school. Although I certainly had friends at school, most of my friends came from the game of baseball. I fell in love with baseball before I could talk and was hitting…

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