Hebrews 11 lists a number of biblical characters who were commended for their faith. And in Hebrews 12, the author reveals that the purpose for publishing these short narratives was for our encouragement: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”
Likewise, the Eastern Christian community is comprised of countless individuals past and present who have walked by faith, upheld by the promises of God. And so this spring over social media, Eastern Christian School asked our community to tell us about these individuals: the specific people in our midst who inspire others, encourage others, and support others along their journey. Following in this blog series are the results, and the stories of just a few of the people in our great cloud of witnesses.
“Trish Virga is a hard worker with a servant’s heart. She is always willing to volunteer to organize and run events. Sometimes Trish even literally runs in an event like the Fun(d) Run where she does laps with each grade level to provide encouragement and support. Trish and her PTO teams have renovated the preschool and elementary school playgrounds over the past several years. Our students are thrilled to play on the new structures and in the gaga pit. They had fun planning the next phase of playground renovation with our nature playground.”
In some respects, Trish Virga owes her life to a car accident that almost took it.
Although she became a Christian at the age of five, her life and faith were dramatically altered at the end of her junior year in high school. “It really took a turn when I was visiting colleges and my family and I got into a bad car accident. I shouldn’t have made it,” she shares. As she recovered, she says, “I realized God clearly saved me for a purpose. And from there it was like, where you want me to go, Lord, I will go.”
Her journey led her from California to New Jersey in 2018. Having owned three franchise gyms previously, Virga, now transplanted in New Jersey, “jumped into the PTO because I wanted to quickly get to know the EC community and get plugged in.”
A year later, Virga became the ECES PTO president. “I got so excited about the PTO [because] I saw a need to be that vehicle to bring family and community together and to serve our community to bring change,” she says.
Still passionate about wellness and fitness, Virga was instrumental in spearheading the launch of an outdoor playground for the ECES campus, which is scheduled for completion in fall 2022. The playground will feature activities designed to nurture students’ whole well-being, and will feature elements such as a treehouse, circle swings, and sitting stumps.
“This particular project will glorify the Lord because we are working together to build this as a community, leaving a legacy for the generations to come. It will bring God joy, glory, and honor as the children delight in God’s nature and engage their bodies in physical play as well as imaginative play”
In addition to activities connected with the PTO, Virga also regularly prays for the community. She adds, “My biggest prayer is that we would be a community that walks boldly in our faith, one that loves with reckless abandon, that we would hide God’s word in our hearts and that we would teach our kids to do the same; to live by faith and not by sight, how to live in the world but not be of the world.”
Enjoying this blog series? Read more stories in the fall edition of The Herald, publishing late August 2022.
Would you like to celebrate another member of the EC community for being an inspiration? Send your nominations to Herald@easternchristian.org and we may feature your nominating quotes in our final Cloud of Witnesses blog. EC reserves the right to edit/omit submissions.