A bittersweet part of the trip my sister Jenn and I took stateside in May was the "trip inside the trip" to take her oldest son Matias to North Carolina for his senior year of high school. It was special to be able to accompany Jenn on this journey, but also painful to witness their parting and to consider ours coming up with Eva the next year. In a short span of time, there were numerous details to be accomplished: clothes shopping, opening a bank account, meeting his principal and touring his new school, among others.
It was an encouragement to see how God had gone before them to prepare the way for the senior year they had never expected. Rather than graduating in the country, city and school with the class he had always known, Mati would be graduating in another country, city and school with brand-new teachers and classmates. But he would also be joining two lifelong friends for this adventure, and all three would be living with a missionary "aunt" and "uncle" who had known Mati from infancy. Only God could have orchestrated the timing and details of all of their lives to intersect and complement one another at this time!
It so happened that Mati would be living in the same city as the daughter and son-in-law of our colleagues from Chile, who themselves were on furlough and in town to meet their brand-new granddaughter. It always feels a little surreal to connect with each other away from our mutual field of service, but it was a treat to spend a short while with the Spinks on a sticky summer afternoon getting caught up and admiring their sweet new bundle of pink!
And finally, one more surprise for our parents and one more momentous occasion of which we were able to take part on this trip was the Fisher family's commissioning service. Having walked alongside our sister Terri with her husband and kids for several long years while on raising their support, it was a joy to be able to celebrate God's faithful calling and supply in their lives. The surprise for our parents was the song Terri had chosen for the three of us to sing together, which was the same one sung at their commissioning service so many years ago. As we sang, pictures scrolled behind us from the years of ministry our own parents had in Chile, where they are still loved and remembered.
The path that I have trod, has brought me nearer God,
though oft it led through sorrows gates.
Though not the way I'd choose, in my way I might lose,
the joy that yet for me awaits.
Not what I wish to be, nor where I wish to go.
For who am I that I should choose my way.
The Lord will choose for me, 'tis better far I know.
So let him bid me go; or stay.
The cross that I must bear, if I a crown would wear,
is not the cross that I would take.
But since on me 'tis laid, I'll take it unafraid;
and bear it for the Master's sake.
Submission to the will, of Him who loves me still,
is surety of his love revealed.
My soul shall rise above this world in which I move;
I conquer only when I yield.
Terri did a wonderful job of planning every detail of the service. It was a blessing to see friends from different seasons of their lives who made the effort to come and join them on this evening. Extended family members - Dave's dad and our aunt and cousins - joined us also, as did several individuals from our mission board who have been an encouragement to the Fishers along the way. Soon Dave and Terri will join us in Iquique, and as the words above their heads declare in the picture below, "To God be the glory!"