The Steve and Kay Abelman Scholarship
Faith Academy has established the Steve and Kay Abelman Scholarship to help current and incoming staff with their financial needs.
Steve and Kay Abelman
Steve was a native Californian, growing up in a nominally Jewish/Christian home. His father, a realtor, and his mother, a secretary, made a point of sending him to Sunday school, church, youth group and vacation Bible school. Yet, as a boy, he never accepted Christ as his Savior.
Steve Abelman attended Pierce College and Cal State University, where he graduated in 1965. At Pierce, he met Kay Wilson who became his wife in September, 1963. Kay was a Christian and Steve began attending church with her regularly. At 24 years of age, he became a Christian and his motivation for life changed. Steve had found meaning in teaching, but now he found new meaning in having an impact on people’s lives. He completed work on a master’s degree in 1972 and went on to teach children with learning challenges. Steve established good rapport with Mexican students and their parents. He also earned the respect of his peers and began a Monday morning Bible study/prayer group for teachers.
For the next ten years the Abelmans both taught school in Los Angeles. Kay’s talents had an impact on her home church, Grace Baptist of Newhall. She sang, directed children’s musicals and vacation Bible school. At church, Steve was shifting from spectator to participant. He served as a Sunday school teacher, youth sponsor, and camp counselor.
In 1974, he and Kay took their two daughters, Becky and Jill, on a sabbatical tour of North America in a rented 24-foot trailer. Mexico was especially stirring. They visited small churches, camped in the mountains, and lived for a week in an orphanage. God opened their eyes to missions. Could they be used in some way?
When the Abelmans heard of a need for teachers at Faith Academy, a school for missionary children in the Philippines, they applied and were accepted. Soon the Baptist General Conference World Missions Board authorized them as missionaries. Steve and Kay both began teaching at Faith Academy in Manila, Philippines in August of 1976. Steve taught 6th graders in a variety of classes from Life Sciences to Phys. Ed. In 1980, he became the Middle School’s principal and took responsibility for a major reconstruction of both the school’s curriculum and physical plant. He introduced many things in Middle School that still happen today including Friendship Week, the Spelling Bee, and the Speech Tournament. He began the still-thriving Outdoor Education program. Kay served in a number of roles at Faith. She taught first, second, and third grades, music and worked in the library. She was also the elementary principal.
While serving as principal of the school, Steve also began to lead discipleship/Bible study groups for Filipinos through the Metro Manila Bible Community. Prior to their home assignment in 1989, Steve felt the Lord was calling him to work full-time in discipleship and church planting, so he resigned as principal at Faith Academy. He led several discipleship groups, worked with new church plants in the Manila area and coordinated the short-term missionary program in the Philippines. A third area in which Steve became involved was teaching English at a Filipino high school.
ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) Philippines was just a dream until April 1997 when some Filipino Christian school administrators moved for its formal organization. Steve was named ACSI Asia Director. The first conference for teachers and administrators was held in April 1999 at Greenhills Christian Fellowship in Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Membership grew, increasing steadily from 59 schools in 1999, reaching almost 300 in mid-2000. Steve conducted seminars and workshops throughout the Philippines to help teachers integrate biblical truths and principles in the academic curriculum of schools. During this time Steve also served on the Faith Academy Board of Trustees.
The 1998, Faith Academy yearbook, Tiwalan was dedicated to Steve and Kay Abelman (see below). Kay was a member of Faith’s 25-year club, serving at Faith from 1976 to 2001.
In 2004, their mission, the Baptist General Conference, asked them to work with missionary candidates and to be available to churches and missions committees in Arizona and California. They moved back to the US at that time. Steve was active in missions and education until his death. He was taken home during his early morning devotions on June 13, 2007. Steve and Kay were to be honored at the Baptist General Conference annual conference a few weeks later for their 25 years of service with BGC in the Philippines. These two people exemplify a life lived for Christ and a passion for education and Faith Academy is very pleased to have this scholarship named after them.
If you would like contribute to the Steve and Kay Abelman Scholarship you can donate online through the GIEF website. Please designate the amount and choose “Scholarships for teachers” in the “Direct My Donation to” drop down menu. Thank you for your generosity.