. . as exam week approaches, goodbyes loom, anxiety mounts, there is a bit of worst-of-times seeping in. And other aspects of community and school can be tough. So here's a best-of-times tribute to RVA on a pre-Thanksgiving weekend. Pinewood Derby, a masterpiece of logistics, and literally hundreds of races are run in an orchestrated computer-timed video-enhanced sports-announced production. The entire school community seems to gather. Cheering. Conversations. Some really good music by Mr. Peifer. And really bad. Excited kids, prizes, creative cars, occasional wrecks. Julia and Savvy were doing a car together, which mostly meant Julia provided moral support and Savvy did the work, on a rhino car with a red mohawk. Because both girls were in soccer tryouts Jack ended up spending a brotherly couple hours in the final touches and registration so he put his name on too. So the three of them had a blast and made it to semifinals in their age group, but nowhere near fastest. Just fun. It was a good time to eat and visit. And best of all Jane M with her mom Ann, our very own WHM-ites, won the women's category! I love the empowerment that comes from a stadium of cheers when you're six (or any age).
Then today, Baptism Sunday, where eleven students gave testimonies, had favorite scriptures read, were baptized and prayed for. In multiple languages, from many different countries, all desiring to identify personally with faith in Jesus. Singing and guitars, outdoor amphitheater, overcast sky, families involved.
But the best thing about both days was sort of the same. A single mom here whose husband died in the course of missionary service. Watching staff men who helped her young sons build and race their cars, and who mentored one of them as he made his profession of faith and baptism today. What a great thing, to see solid men stepping into the gap where a comrade fell, showering love upon these boys. Then add to that tonight's band and choir concert, four groups, about two dozen pieces all related to Christmas, all wrested from kids who have learned to play and sing and cooperate in the last few months. And essentially that is RVA, at its best, a community of dedicated people pouring attention and skill and concern and challenge and love out onto other peoples' kids. Because being a missionary kid, or any kid, carries so many losses, from the tragedy of a father killed to the subtlety of not quite fitting in to a new culture, and everything in between. So thankful in particular that our very own Bethany F has been here to counsel and encourage kids this term. It's a good thing for a place like this.
So to dorm parents, teachers, choir directors, counselors, administrators, cooks, coaches, librarians, secretaries, launderers, nurses, maintenance experts, and all the other diversely gifted people who make up a school like this, thanks. Happy Thanksgiving.