Sunday, January 4, 2015

Lauren is on her way!

As I write this, Lauren should be landing in Singapore.  We had a teary good-bye at the airport this afternoon as we sent her off for a week-long retreat at a secluded island resort in Indonesia.  She will be meeting several high-schoolers whose parents serve in Nazarene missions on this side of the world.  They will be looking at their strengths, looking towards life after high school, and looking to God to speak to them in new ways.  We anticipate that this week will be life changing for her!

But even though this trip has been much anticipated, the process has not been easy.  This is partly because Lauren is our first child - she's the first one to venture off on her own.  And then there's little thing called "recent airplane crashes". Even though air travel is still one of the safest forms of transportation (MUCH safer than road travel here!), it still takes an act of faith to let go and to trust God with my girl.  Because I know that trusting Him doesn't mean that nothing bad will happen to her, but rather it means that I have to come to terms with the fact that He will be with her in whatever she has to go through.
Megann wasn't in the mood for an airport good-bye
To make matters worse, sometimes I worry that we've made a really bad decision to raise our kids overseas.  What if we've really messed them up?  What if they never feel like they belong anywhere... ever?  What life goes on for everyone back home, and they get forgotten?  What if they can't make it on their own in the world?  These are all things that run through my sub-conscious mind (I don't actually let my conscious mind chew on this for very long).

And yet, through all of this, there are these little glimpses of hope - that God sees us, that He knows us, and that He will provide everything we need.  A few weeks ago, Lauren and I got sidetracked by looking through some pictures from before we moved overseas, as she was preparing a fundraising page for her trip expenses.  Our last three years in Idaho were spent on the campus of NNU in the freshman boys' dorm, and one night several girls from the neighboring dorm put on a Princess Party for Lauren and Brenna.  All of the girls dressed up and they did "princessy" activites all night.  We had a fun time reminiscing about several of the girls who had made Lauren feel so special that night.
Princess Party Flashback - 2006?
Fast forward to just before Christmas... some pictures were posted on Facebook of a staff Christmas party of one of the churches in Idaho.  Around the table were several people who had touched Lauren's life.  One was one of the girls who had been at the Princess Party several years earlier that Lauren had especially remembered.  Another was Lauren's third grade teacher - her last teacher in America.  And yet another, was the couple who have organized the retreat that Lauren will be attending this week.  Wow!  Needless to say, I was in tears.  Such a sweet reminder that God hasn't forgotten about my girls!
So thankful for these sweet reminders!

Then, just last week, we heard from Ryan's sister that a friend of theirs was also traveling to the retreat, and would be bringing a few little gifts for the girls with him.  And we received a message from a cousin saying that another couple who were going to be flying over for the retreat were youth workers from his church.  When we shared Lauren's fundraising page on Facebook, donations came in from family and friends all over the world - including another one of those girls who had been at the Princess Party.  Lauren was able to raise more than enough money to pay for her portion of the trip, and was even able to use the excess to help defray the costs for some of the other students.  We feel honored and humbled, and so very grateful!

*** As I wrap up this post, Lauren is safely in Singapore.  Please continue to keep all of us, but especially her, in your prayers this week.