So, the time is here...the Uhaul is parked outside ready to be packed up , and tomorrow at this time we will be in our new 'home' in San Diego. It is crazy to think that the time that we have talked about for so long is actually here. To be honest, it is very bitter-sweet. I am so so sad to not be around my community that God has blessed me with here. There are so many people who have had such a tremendous impact on my life and I am so thankful for and I can't imagine not being around anymore. But, the sweet part is, San Diego is not THAT far! And...Fresno has a weird magnetic pull where people just always seem to gravitate to. So, the truth is, I feel like I am not 'leaving' because my heart is here and so many people who I love dearly are here, so I know I will be back, and often. Also, sweet because God is leading us in a new unmarked territory where we are having to lean on Him fully and I know that we are going to experience him in new ways.
This week has been crazy. Filled with seeing people right before we go. I hate the 'good-bye' process so I have realize that I have been avoiding it, with saying, "see you later," and what not. But there are a few chapters in my life that are closing because of this move. One of the biggest chapters is that of youth ministry. It is hard for me to write this without tears. I have been involved in youth ministry for 8 years now, and it is so crazy to think that this chapter is closing for now. There have been so many sweet sweet blessings with working with youth....Emily, Ellie, Leslie, Jaclyn : I love your continued friendship even though you are 'college' girls now. It has been such a privilege to watch you grow up in the beautiful, talented, women of the Lord that you have become. I love the journey that each of you is on and that you continue to seek after the Lord and all that He has for you. You made it through a year out of high school...the fun is beginning...can't wait to see the path the Lord has for you! Lauren D, Kayla, Jane, Alyssa Galik, Alyssa Gutnik, Kathryn, Lauren L, Janessa, Jessica and Tiffany: It is hard to know that I won't get to hear your crazy stories every week and laugh at the boy drama (you know what I'm talking about), and to listen as you continue to gain insight from the Lord and learn what it means to follow Him. Lauren, I'm stoked about you stepping up in leadership with worship, and I know that God is going to use in a huge way this year. Thanks for being such a sweet girl to Ryan...he will remember you and your phone! :) Kayla, You are continually learning and growing and I love that you get involved in so much. You have a pure heart and don't worry...Ryan will talk soon enough! Jane, I love your genuineness and honesty. You have great insight to others and a sensitivity that I know will help you know when God is at work. Enjoy NOT playing softball this year! :) Alyssa Galik, I'm praying for UCSD!! I would love that! :) I have LOVED your joy and fun-loving nature. It was a blessing to be in Guatemala with you, and I know you are going to have a great senior year. Keep your focus on Christ through all the craziness of college-searching, and He will direct your paths...promise! :) Alyssa Gutnik, I'm so glad that you were in our group this year. I really enjoyed having you whenever you weren't playing basketball. I love your sweetness and sincerity. I'm so excited that God opened doors for you here in Fresno, and I am excited to hear about your college experience! Kathryn, I am so glad that we merged groups this year. I really appreciate your openness and curiosity. I will never forget our conversation about heaven and the hope that we have in Christ. I also am impressed with your determination and also love for others. I can't wait to see what this year has in store for you. Lauren L, you made me laugh so many times! I love your stories and your openness! You are a committed and faithful friend and someone who can and will do great things because of your love for Jesus. Continue to search after Him. :) Janessa, you make my heart smile. I really loved our conversations and seeing your maturity and love for your friends. Continue to seek God in all that you do, and everything else will fall into place. I will always think of you when I have on bracelets, and you need to get a facebook so I can keep track of you! :) Jessica, You have blessed me over and over with your thoughtful gifts for both myself and Ryan. You have such a sweet, genuine spirit and I love your smile. Thank you for brightening my day so many times. I am so proud of you for going to Guatemala for two years now....leader next year!! :) Tiffany, the other leader for Guatemala! :) I have so enjoyed having you in small group and counting how many times you say "like". :) I love your insight and knowledge about God's word and how you desire to practice the bible's teachings. I love your determination and your involvement. I am excited about all that the Lord has for you this year, and what is to come.
Girls, you have taught me so much over the years and you will always have such a special place in my heart. I am looking forward to hearing all that is going on in your lives and know that I will continue to pray for you and look forward to seeing you. There are so many other youth that have made a huge impact on Jason and I and we thank you for your love and support. Remember to keep your focus on Christ always...enjoy your years of high school...and they only happen once...live them without regret. You are loved.