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    Roommates Reunite

    Traveling from Norway to the United States sounds thrilling. Places like New York City or Seattle would be at the top of most lists, unless you’re a former Hillcrest student.

    Traveling to Minnesota in the most treacherous winter conditions, Maria Aarvik, Maria Jacobsen, Maria Bakke, Karoline Baugsto, Eivind Bjornoy, Simon Ottera, and Daniel Schjelderup wanted to relive their Hillcrest experience for a few weeks. 

    Pulling up mattresses to stay with old roommates, the visiting group from Norway drank in the nostalgia of their past Hillcrest experience. Walking Hillcrest’s halls in 2014 is exciting, with the former students noting the new classroom section and a few updates made to the dorm. But a pass through Hillcrest one year later left Maria Aarvik noting many changes in the faces of students. “The kids in the hallways look like little kids.” 

    While the classrooms, textbooks and dorm furnishings have changed, the teachers former students had are still found in familiar classrooms. Maria Jacobsen noted that despits some of the changes, “It’s good coming back, Quincey is still here.”

    Dorm policies and student life have changed little, as noted by the Norwegian visitors. The Walmart bus still leaves promptly after study hall every Monday and curfew still calls students to run up the stairs beating out dorm discipline by fractions of a second. 

    The visiting Norwegians note that self-imposed curfew and bedtimes are appreciated in their native Bergen, but being back in Hillcrest’s monitored rhythm still feels like home. Living in the dorms feels weird in some aspects, most notably computer free Fridays and restricted WiFi, but the visiting students appreciate how interwined their lives were with their friends, building life-long friendships in a ten-month span. Living with fifty best friends makes Hillcrest feel like home. 

    The Norwegians’ first trip home last May was marked with suitcases full of their American experience. Most of the items in the suitcases were edible; Skittles, Mountain Dew and Starburst packed before new shoes and a favorite sweater. The second trip back to Norway is helping many bring back items they left. Maria Aarvik found  snowboots, a ski jacket and balls of yarn that will undoubtedly occupy her knitting fingers for their 24 hour trip to Bergen. 

    While much is made of the tangible goods students bring to Norway, the former students are quick to direct the conversation to the most treasured souveniers. Lessons learned in Hillcrest’s classrooms and dormitory are really what ignites the Norwegian exodus back to Hillcrest after graduation. Maria Aarvik and Maria Jacobsen both say they learned more about life than school in their Hillcrest experience, commenting primarily on their faith formation and how to take care of themselves. 


    HLA Today Issue | 07 2013-14


    Lowell Quam: God's Faithful Servant

    Few students have the opportunity to be taught by a man who has many similarities to the Apostle Paul. While Mr. Quam’s story isn’t an exact page out of Paul’s epistles, his experience did have a shapring effect to his view on life and his role in presenting Christ to the world.

    In northern Minnesota Mr Quam, a Spanish and bible teacher at Hillcrest, was born to two parents who passionately loved God. He was raised in a very conservative and strict home, and at a very young age he knew he wanted to do something great for God’s kingdom. 

    Before entering grade school, Mr. Quam had interests in becoming a missionary. He took both a year of bible and a year of seminary before graduating high school. He proceeded with a degree in psychology after his time in college and worked as a carpenter for two years after graduating. It was during his carpentry years that he met his partner in ministry, and both were called to missions in Ecuador.

    Training was intense for Mr Quam and his wife, spending three months in Mexico for grueling language training. Their preparation in Spanish also included stints in Vermont learning how to teach English. 

    The first few years of Mr. Quam’s missionary service included teaching at a large high school in Ecuador He taught both English and Bible courses opening doors for his mission work. 

    Every fifth year Mr. Quam and his family would visit the United States to raise support for their mission and reconnect with family. The five year tradition was almost halted by Mr. Quam’s unsuspected run-in with the law.

    A tragic traffic accident called Ecuadorian police to investigate the scene. Mr. Quam was a driver and someone was injured. The sad tale left Mr. Quam, unable to pay the bribe asked for by police, with a tour of the inside of an Ecudaorian police car and an introduction to the local jail. Mr. Quam has seen the inside of a jail, but this time he was the criminal, not the visiting minister.

    After being in jail less than a week, Mr. Quam was released until his court date. Facing six months in jail time he had to make a tough decision. Rather than wait around and risk imprisonment in a court system that could be fickle he fled the country. He grabbed the first plane ticket to the United States. Commissioning his lawyer to resolve matters while he was stateside, Mr. Quam found solace on U.S. soil. 

    Months of waiting revealed it was safe for Mr. Quam to travel to Ecuado and continue his missionary service. The legal scare caused concern for his family, but the story is now a hallmark of God’s grace and is an added piece to Mr. Quam’s life story of faithfulness.

    After serving in Ecuador with his wife for 20 years, Mr. Quam moved with his family to Fergus Falls where he started teaching Spanish and Bible classes at Hillcrest. His tenure at the school has been punctuated with mission opportunities in Mexico. His role in missions at Hillcrest helps students understand how they can better communicate Christ through their understanding of foreign languages.

    Teaching 7th and 8th grade introductory Spanish, college preparatory Spanish, and bible classes, Mr. Quam has influenced many hillcrest students over the years. Unlike most foreign language instructors, Mr. Quam uses his opportunity in teaching to incorporate the Bible into the Spanish curriculum. A level of preparation that will help students in college, and their future as they imitate their Spanish instrcutor, a special agent for God’s kingdom.