Will you indulge me one last newsletter about Rachel? With graduation just a few days away, she will soon leave God’s call on our family to follow the call on her own life.
At the start of our mission life as a home-schooling mom, I would never have guessed that boarding school was the best place for my kids. But Rachel has proved me wrong, and Noah is eager to follow in her footsteps! (And we are so grateful to David’s parents for paying her way!) She has been far enough away to mature in many areas without our intervention. But she’s also been close enough to provide support when necessary. We are so pleased that she has leaned hard on Jesus to grow in healthy relationships this year. It would be tempting to hold back at an international school where everyone moves to a different continent after graduation, but she has chosen not to, opening her heart to many girls and finding friendship at last. At the same time, she has kept her heart on a tight leash with the opposite sex, so as “not to awaken love until the time is right.” She has received prophecies in the past that have hinted at what she and her husband will do together, and she anticipates the day when their paths will cross!
She’s had myriads of experiences that we could never have provided had she stayed home, and our only loss is that we couldn’t experience some of it with her – especially as her year was marked by lots of travel. Her senior trip destination was Rome and Venice, her AP English class field trip was a bus ride to London to see Shakespeare at the Globe theatre + Phantom of the Opera, her German class spent a weekend in Berlin, she participated in street evangelism in Basel, Switzerland, and as co-editor of the yearbook, she made a 7 hr. drive to a printer in the south of France to see a mockup before leaving it for printing.
The input of so many other godly adults in her life has been even more important in her development. The teachers at BFA have to raise their own support, so they are actually missionaries to the missionary kids! They love these kids almost as much as their own, and I am forever in their debt. Here are a few examples:
- The family of the pastor of the BFA community church used to live in France. When they discovered that Rachel spoke French, they decided to invite her over for a weekly meal and French conversation with their daughters to keep them from losing the language.
- Her German teacher paid her good money to grade papers, providing her with spending money that we could not provide, and paid the test fee so that she could to take the AP German exam.
- Her English teacher pointed out a character weakness that she needed to work on.
- Another teacher took the time to do a “photo shoot” of her band in strange locations for the liner notes of their CD.
- Her dorm resident assistant kept an eye on her personal life and sent us a “performance review” each semester.
Being apart also made it hard to have on-going conversations about college plans, and the choices were pretty overwhelming to consider at first. Scholarship money seemed elusive too, though we thought she had better odds as a missionary kid. Several Internet searches later revealed that she didn’t fit into any MK mold that was giving money away: She was not attending a Christian college that gave tuition breaks to MKs, she was not a member of a denomination that offered scholarships to MKs, and she did not want to attend a school to be trained as a missionary (pastor, doctor, nurse, translator, etc.)
Fortunately, this child does know how to hear God’s voice, and after only visiting 2 art schools last April, she knew that Art Institutes was God’s choice for her as a future graphic artist, even though David and I weren’t as convinced. This school happens to offer their own generous scholarships in the form of a poster contest open to senior applicants, so Rachel decided to put all her eggs in one basket. With a Feb. deadline, she took an image that God gave her and worked on it almost everyday during Christmas break. Back at school, her graphic arts teacher gave her a few more suggestions and she sent it in with the assurance that it was God’s to use as He saw fit.
In April, we learned that she was the winner at the local level, representing the Indianapolis location, and in May we learned that she took 3rd place at the national level (against the 40 other location winners.) What a confirmation for her and us to have the school know her and believe in her by covering 1/5 of her tuition! (This is the piece of her life that we have been able to share in because they are calling our house long-distance with the big news, not her dormitory in Germany!)
A formal graduation ceremony is distinctly American and BFA makes sure they get one. (Europeans are jealous, believe me.) Announcements were printed, caps and gowns will be worn, and our younger 2 will get to miss a day of school to attend the ceremony and reception afterward. Her 80 classmates will enjoy a dinner cruise on the Rhine River that evening to cap it off. Then she will be home just 2 weeks before we fly back to the States together for 3 weeks of mother-daughter bonding and adventure. (It just so happens that a team of French prayer walkers from our church will actually be in PA during some of that time and Rachel may join them for a few days.) At any rate, it will be our last “hurrah” for quite awhile before she transforms into a Midwestern college student. We have no idea when we will see each other again, but we rest in the fact that she is in the Father’s hands, and surrounded by very supportive family members.
Send her some love at: rachel [at] leighweb [dot] com and if you happen to bump into her in the next 4 years, give her some kisses on both cheeks for us!
One down, two to go! Angela