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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Here we are, at the end of all things

I know graduations are called "commencements" which is one of those optimistic spins that doesn't really fool anyone.  Two weeks ago we had "the breaking of the fellowship", our last day as a family.  Now Luke is in Mombasa and by the time he comes back Caleb and I will be far away.  Today Caleb is slated to stand up during chapel and receive his diploma, all alone.  There is another month of school at RVA, but he has worked hard to complete all his courses in time to enter basic cadet training for the Air Force.  So in an hour we'll head up to witness this lone graduate coming to the end of his high school, his Africa-school, career.

 This map shows the loneliness of this process.  These are the tags of where RVA students are going to college. There are clusters at some of the popular Christian schools:  Calvin, Anderson, Asbury, Liberty, Le Tourneu.  There are kids scattered up and down the coasts at Duke, Princeton, UNC, Florida, Biola.  But that one little tag in the green square, all by itself in the middle, is Caleb.

 Last night we had installment one of our two last family meals, with a scrap-book review of Caleb's growing up and some hilarious readings of his 1rst to 3rd grade school papers.  Back when his favorite afternoon was to shoot baskets in our yard with Basiime Godfrey, or to get pounded  in the goal with all the boys playing soccer.  We read his version of being stuck in the elevator at a team retreat (Pain in Spain).  We laughed.  And then watched a video about the summer of Basic Cadet Training that the Kraus family lent us, from when their son went through five years ago.  It was sobering but helpful to see in real life the shouting, the inspections, the grueling crawls through mud and under barbed wire, the team events, even the gliding and parachuting. 

This photo I purchased when parents were given the option to buy their kids' graduation pictures (they suit up early and do a photo op in March so there is time to process and print in Africa . . ).  Two smiling friends who will hopefully inspire Caleb to persevere.  I know they'll be praying for him.

Meanwhile life goes on, and Julia and Acacia and Jack have sports events this weekend.  The teams dress for a "psych": Volleyball as princesses, and Rugby as  . . rugby players.
 Julia and Acacia above at Moi Girls' High School in Nairobi--they played well, but were defeated by some very adept Kenyan girls.  Our newest WHM-Kenya missionaries Stephen and Karis Rigby live near the school and were able to join us at the match to visit.  We're so thankful they are here now, exploring ways to bring the Kingdom to the poor in the city through sports ministry.

Lastly La Trattoria, the RVA cafeteria transformed into an Italian pizzaria for Sophomore Restaurant last weekend, which took a huge amount of collective time and energy this past week.

As we head up the hill to graduation, it is a bit sad that we won't have family or team here.  But we do have the entire RVA community, one we have grown to love and appreciate.  So here at the end of life as we've known it we are thankful for the dedicated teachers, caring chaplains, skilled coaches, organized administrators, inspiring choir director, helpful nurses, capable dorm parents, reliable cooks, all the people who have poured into Caleb's life to enable him to reach this milestone today.


Sakura Sojourn said...

The fullness of these last days will give you warmth and joy on the inside, while warm tears course down your cheeks on the outside. With love, prayers, and admiration, from a fellow long-distance missionary mom.

Anonymous said...

I went to Moi Girls School Nairobi, I used to see you (your school) come for sports at my school. However I never saw you preach nor "spread the word" as you claim. Secondly, shame on you for insinuating that the school is for the poor. The school has students from all social classes in Kenya. I am very sorry for you if all you see in Africa is poverty, you obviously need Jesus more than they do.