In 3 short months, Rachel will be embarking on yet another life change – moving to Black Forest Academy (BFA): an American college-prep boarding school in Germany for missionary kids. We asked her to lend a hand in producing this month’s newsletter so that you could get a better picture of how well she has bloomed in French soil!
When she was born, I envisioned my little Colorado columbine firmly potted at home under my loving tutelage for the duration of her childhood. Ten years later, she turned into a tumbleweed, gladly rolling with the wind of the Spirit over the Atlantic. She has vivid, sweet memories of Denver, but is even happier to have been transplanted in Europe.
We saw her musical gifting by the time she was 2, and playing her violin and percussion brings her great joy and many accolades. This year she has benefited from a wonderful Christian violin teacher at a music school housed in an ancient abbey – an inspiring place in which to play! She is a member of the youth worship team called Fireproof, and also contributes when David and I lead worship. She is motivated to practice her scales in order to play with confidence during improvised worship ministry moments, and she would love to spend a year in the future at the Forerunner Music Academy (assoc. with the International House of Prayer in K.C.) for more prophetic worship training.
We planted her on the straight and narrow path of purity when she turned 13. Though she hadn’t “fallen in love” yet, we gave her a ring to wear as a reminder that Jesus could love her better than anyone, that He knew who she would marry, and that she could trust Him to bring them together without walking through the minefield of dating. A year later, she lost that ring, but has stayed on the path, journaling her sometimes-jumbled emotions and receiving Jesus’ loving perspective. Last year we started looking for a replacement ring to celebrate her baptism and 16th birthday, and the Irish Claddaugh ring design jumped out at her, as it perfectly symbolized her heart in God’s hands. Lucky girl, living in France means she still gets “kissed” daily as a greeting by all her good-looking friends!
Her 9th grade classes in France didn’t translate well to an American transcript, so Rachel has had to use this year to fill some 9th grade holes and fulfill the 10th grade credit minimum using an on-line school. She and David have spent lots of time in front of their computers together discussing her school questions while he grades her work. Her college major will be in the area of graphic design.
Studying at home this past year has also allowed her to put her spiritual life in first place, and we have been privileged to see that lived out day-to-day. Responding to a God-birthed vision last fall, Rachel and some other teens started a local high school Bible club. She has been an invaluable team member, esp. since her school hours were so much more flexible. She produced the print communication, met daily to pray, and created Bible studies for small group discussions. She was also key in organizing an evening last week for all those involved in Bible clubs in the region to come together for the very first time. She overcame her natural timidity, and spoke in front of the 80 attendees in French on Christian unity. She had a website up and running a few days later to facilitate relational connections after the event. The teens are still basking in the afterglow of a wildly successful night!
Rachel has been the ideal teenager for a family living on a shoestring: she doesn’t talk on the phone, doesn’t eat much, shares our tastes in music, doesn’t want salon haircuts or make-up, is happy with second hand clothes, uses her bike to get around instead of our gas, is (almost) always available to help out with the housework, and as a bonus, is very close to her brother and sister!
So what’s missing in this picture? The bane of most missionary kids: a best friend to share her days with. But after being “the exotic transplant” for the last 4 years, at BFA she’ll be transformed into a pea among other MK “peas in a pod.” And even though she’s in Germany, she’ll only be an hour away, coming home one weekend a month. All of us are eager to see what God has waiting for her there! We’ve up-dated her wish list page, just in case you would like to help provide for some of her boarding school needs or fete her upcoming 17th birthday in July…
A summer full of visitors starts this week!