May the same God who led Abraham and Moses lead you into paths of fulfillment and joy. I pray His divine protection around you, and that His grace and wisdom would go with you everywhere. May you sense His presence even in the darkest and loneliest nights. I would wish for you ease and comfort, but God knows that’s not what’s best for us. So, when the trials do come, please know that He cares and we at home are praying for you.
Through God, you can do anything. You serve a God that is mightily ABLE. The talents and gifts He’s given you are now to be used in Kenya. Your life has been a constant testimony and example of faithfulness and trusting God. You have done so much work behind the scenes for the church and the youth group. I know that your life will be a big blessing to the mission in Kenya.
And the way that He has led you there is just amazing. I remember how I felt when I first heard you were going to Liberia last year: amazed, yes — but happy because I knew you’d come back richer for the experience. But remember when you told me about this? It has been a long time ago, but do you remember that you and Mary Ann and SuAnn were whispering excitedly and saying how it’s “working out so perfectly!” I asked timidly if I could share in the excitement, and you just as quietly said, “I’m going to Kenya for two years!” The feelings that rose in me were closer to sadness than happiness, though. All I could think about was the loss of you. They say no one is irreplaceable, but you, my friend, come close.
I remember how on the bus with the youth group on the way to the Creation Museum you asked me to do your prayer cards. I was thrilled, of course, and so honored. That was in March, and we loved planning for it early, because we have the whole summer until the end of September to get it done. I suggested the arboretum, and you were totally chill with whatever I wanted to do. I was excited, and my family and coworkers could tell. The photoshoot went splendid — we had such fun! The prayer cards were an absolute blast to design; I was sad when I had to stop making them finally.
We pushed off thinking about your departure the whole summer long. I heard you and your family decided to eat as many ice cream cones as possible or something like that. The summer was filled with late nights around a campfire, volleyball games, and after church talks. In many ways, you were like my big sister, with our dads both in the ministry. You understood the stuff I was going through and you cared. You were never the first to leave, always one of the last. Sometimes you and I would look at each other and think the same thing…she’s leaving, and we’re gonna enjoy this night together. Always we’d make a face at each other to try and forget about it. Then laugh, because after all, she’s not leaving tomorrow!
But we can’t make faces at each other anymore, and you’re leaving in four days. The summer flew by, but I’m so glad we made the memories we did. I will keep them in my heart like the treasures they are.
I promise to always pray for you. And I trust you to God, who will take care of you in the best way possible.
(Rachel’s sister Rebekah came with us so we took a few together portraits)