Sometimes a break can be a good thing. After school ended a couple weeks ago we had a week of vacation and then a week of prep time for the summer months. We had a great time traveling as a family and then a good week of getting things caught up and together for our summer school responsibilities. Now, we are ready to settle into work again for a few weeks.
Last night we welcomed our students that will stay with us Sunday through Friday for the next three weeks. With that welcome, we have reached 103 boys that have lived in our home in the past 9 years. Recently we pulled out all the sign in sheets from the past nine years and realized that we had ministered to 99 boys. This summer session put us over the hundred mark as we have four boys staying with us that we have not had in our cottage before.
We do not know now what impact these weeks (or months or years in some cases) with these students will have. We pray that our faith lived out visibly before them as they stay in our home leaves a lasting imprint on their lives. We pray that even those who seem opposed to our beliefs will reconsider at some point in their lives. I would love to see each of them in eternity, but I'm sure I will have to settle for far less than that. We pray for their safety, their futures, their choices. They are not our own children, and yet we have given a part of ourselves to them, and played a small role in the people they will become. If they become 'good' people I will be glad, but the ultimate goal is their ultimate destination. I pray we make an eternal difference in their lives.
For nine years God has led us into this line of 'work' and we have enjoyed much of it. Now, as we face two, three-week sessions of summer school, we face them with the knowledge that they will be our last. We turned in our resignation as houseparents a couple weeks ago and this fall as students return to school, we will have just our five in our home.
I look forward to the opportunities for doing more with my own kids and family, to having a freer schedule, especially on Sunday nights. However, much will be missed. We love what we do. I love looking back over the year and seeing how much each student has grown. Watching them speak on their graduation day about their future plans and know that we played a part in that individual's life. It has not always been easy by any means and sometimes the rewards are foggy, but we have definitely enjoyed our time in this role.
Now, it is time to move on. I don't know what this coming school year will hold. It will be vastly different than our lives for the past nine years. We walk forward changed, different, imprinted by their lives as well.