Dreams and Open Doors: The Inception of Victory
By Sam Weiler
A magnet on Joyce Folk’s fridge reads, “When God closes one door, He opens another.” For Folk, the founding Victory Christian Academy (VCA) is a tale of dreams, open doors, and answered prayers.
The dream: To bring Christian education to Northwest Indiana. From the time she taught her kid brother Randy to read, Folk has been passionate about education. In her first year working for Mr. Rick Jones as a preschool teacher, Folk wondered, “Why isn’t everyone sending their kids to a Christian school?”
But that question was only the beginning. After 12 years as a preschool teacher, Folk began working at South Haven Christian School (SCHS), where she taught elementary, middle, and high school. Her dream seemed to become a reality when she was given the opportunity to start the high school at SCHS. However, the dream was not to last.
Closed door: Summer, 2002. Split with SHCS. “My dream died,” Folk said, “Everything I worked for died.” Folk had a master’s degree in administration, decades of experience, and a truly selfless dream. “I thought this was the answer I was praying for. Then it
“I learned that when the vision God gave you dies, only He will bring it back, and only in His timing.” Not only did Folk leave SHCS, but also the 6th grade teacher, the guidance counselor, and a handful of students.
The open door: 2644, Hamstrom Road, Portage. Pam Wilson, the former 6th grade teacher, was asked to home school a group of 4th-5th graders who also left SHCS. Because her husband had office space she could use as classrooms, Wilson was able to say yes. Knowing that she couldn’t do it all by herself, Wilson asked Folk to come in and teach the 11 students math and science while she taught history, English, and Bible. Tamara Canzoneri, the former guidance counselor, worked alongside the two teachers, weaving her magic in the financial and marketing departments.
As Folk realized that this little group of elementary students could become an actual school, she also realized that this might be God’s way of giving her dream back. She had the credentials. She had the experience. The only way this could really happen was if God was with them. The whole time, she says, “It seemed Satan was like, ‘What on earth do you think you’re doing?’” Yet, by the end of that summer, VCA officially became a school. On September 3, 2002, VCA was incorporated by the state of Indiana as an independent, non-profit organization. However, the question became, “Where do we go from here?”
Answered Prayer: WEFC. As VCA began looking for a new location for the future, WEFC was finishing their new addition, which contained multiple classrooms. As Folk, Canzoneri, and Wilson were praying, “God, give us a new place with more classrooms,” members at WEFC were praying, “God, please fill these classrooms with children.” A connection was made, and VCA was given the opportunity to lease space from WEFC for the next school year.
Since then, VCA has purchased its own building, renovated their gymnasium, been accredited by two separate agencies, and been approved for the new voucher program. The Lord has fulfilled many dreams, opened many doors, and answered many prayers.
“When God closes the door on the house, He throws open the barn doors on something else,” Folk said. “Now the work that’s being done here is way beyond these communities and the churches, to continue furthering the kingdom.”