Sunday, June 14, 2009

Happy Birthday!

So today was one of my best friend's 21st birthday! Miss Grace, although I did not get to see her, is officially legal. Although she was a little disappointed she could not enjoy her first alcoholic beverage, I think she had a good day (She can't drink because she has been accepted to be a journeyman with the IMB in Naples, Italy for the next two years....yeah she's suffering for Jesus). I'll get to see her tomorrow when she becomes our fourth roommate for the summer :) It's going to be weird when she leaves in August...I'm doing this whole someone special to me is going overseas thing once again (although differently this time) so I know it won't actually hit me until I hug her goodbye and she excitedly gets on the plane. Two years...I know it will go by so fast, but it's bitter sweet for both of us I think. It's funny to think we shared our first mission trip together in Japan four years ago now! The longest either one of us has been overseas is 2 weeks. Even in that short time you go through so many things. Spiritual warefare seems so much more real and present because you are in a very dark place that is significantly different from the bible belt we grew up in. You can't just walk around the corner and go to church because there aren't any. It's difficult to find solid Christian friends because most of the locals have never even heard the name of Christ spoken before in their lives. It's not like here. She is going to experience times of excitement, frustration, loneliness and homesickness, silliness, and unspeakable joy. But every moment is worth it. I know she's excited and I am so excited for her...but I'll miss my best friend. Thank God for technology and the invention of skype! We even use that now when we're only an hour from each other so it will definitely come in handy when she's in Italy. Even though it won't be the same, at least I'll get to see her face and hear her voice. I can't wait to hear all of her stories. I know God is going to use her greatly and grow her in unthinkable ways. Happy 21st birthday Grace! Love you!

Today was kind of a rough day for me in another way. Today was also the birthday of the little boy I used to mentor at the Nelson Center (my most recent one that is). I cannot mention his name, but for those of you that talk to me often, you know what his name is (and if not you can ask me later). He turned 9 years old today! This one was harder for me because I really had no closure. His caseworker decided to take him earlier than they thought so I had no chance to say goodbye to him. It really broke my heart. I spent several months with him and it was so good to watch him grow. I'm so proud of him and the progress he made. He went from so much anger to just a little gentleman and a leader on his unit. I will never forget the first time I met him. He came barreling down the hall with excitement and gave me the biggest, tightest hug I've ever gotten from a kid. Then he told me, "When I squeeze you, that means I love you." I got lots of those over the last few months. Lots of "Miss Christa, you're beautiful," "Miss Christa, I stayed on smiley face so I could see you today," To which I would always respond, "I'm so proud of you!" Always trying to give him as much verbal affirmation as I could because I know it is something he grew up without and because of the abuse his self esteem was not good. The hardest part about mentoring these kids is definitely not the process or the behavior (which with their mentors is mostly good, I've only had a few incidents) it's most definitely the goodbyes. You grow such an attachment to each other and I'm not allowed to keep up with them when they leave. I wish so badly I could've at least sent him a card today, just to let him know I will always love him and think about him. I think about my kids often...and I call them "my kids" because for the time that I have them, I treat them as such. Although they are not allowed to call me "mom," I know that I am very much a mother figure to them. So when you get the chance, please pray for my little boy. Pray that he was able to go with a foster family who loves the Lord and will love him unconditionally and continue to help him grow. Pray that God stirs salvation in his heart. Pray that he does well in public school, makes good friends who will have a good influence on him, teachers who will be patient and helpful. Pray that he is able to use his talents of singing, dancing, and sports. And please pray that he will believe the truth that God works all things for his good, even the bad situations he's had to suffer through. It is hard for my kids to believe that God is good when they have seen and suffered more horrible things than most of us will ever know in their short little lifetimes. But He does work all things for our good and He can heal the most broken hearted, and redeem what is so bent to sin. Pray that he learns, believes, trusts, hopes, and that God will use him. And now, you can pray for my new girl I get to meet on Thursday. Although we already know each other, I am excited to be able to really spend time with her and invest in her life. Happy birthday little buddy! Miss Christa loves and misses you!

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