Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hard to say GOODBYE!

Two weeks ago at the end of Refuge, our high school ministry, we had to say goodbye to yet another one of our students.  This is something that is all to common in ministry to the military.  You see, having grownup as a military brat, I am somewhat used to it.  Although, it is still tough.

When you invest your heart and life into working with people, there is always the heart strings that get attached.  When the heart strings are attached, there comes a time when they are stretched, wound so tight as they join you close. They are interconnected with others.  They strengthen you when you are down and sad.  They hold you when you are discouraged. They are tightened during adversity and tough times.  They spring and bounce when joy and happiness is celebrated.  You see heart strings are the binding agent that connect us with people.

Well, on that night of Refuge, our heart strings were pulled on hard.  You see, "G" was leaving and moving back to the states. (the term is PCSing/Permanent Change of Station).  He would no longer be there on Wednesday, at the Christmas Dinner, at Spring break camp...and you see for us, spring break camp was big...that is where "G" met Jesus for the first time in a real and personal way.

He simply trusted Jesus with his life and gave control of his life over to Jesus.  "G" began to grow in his relationship and sought to understand the Bible and learn about his new friend, Jesus.  Their heart strings were eternally connected!

"G" also was connected with the other students at Refuge and his high school.  They enjoyed hanging out with him, playing video games, talking and just spending time with "G".  You see, "G" was connected.  His heart was attached!

When someone leaves our youth group, we take a time at the end to have them sit in the middle of the room on a chair and we speak words of life to them.  We share with them what they have meant to us, how they impacted us, how they changed us and how we will miss them.  Of course, it is tough and yet, it is a heart felt time of investing and encouraging.  Tears flowed as friends and classmates shared of "G"'s impact in their life.  When we were all done, "G" said, "Can I say something?". Of course I said yes and as he spoke of how he would miss all of us, he challenged the students that were there to stay in youth group, grow in Jesus and me an encouragement to each other.

WOW!!!  What a powerful thing to say to his peers and friends!

So you see, it is hard to say GOODBYE and yet, knowing that lives are being changed and impacted and that they will go out and make a difference after leaving here, well, the goodbyes are a tad bit easier.

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