School is out for the summer today. In just 4 more days, Saedah, the gorgeous young lady in the middle, will go back home to Palestine. She was an exchange student here in our town for her sophomore year of high school.
She and my daughter, Megan (on the right of this gorgeous group) became great friends this past year. Saedah has been at our house quite often, and I have fond memories of all the girls sitting on the living room floor reading and rolling each other up in blankets. Saedah would strum very non-musical melodies on my guitar and singing off-key tunes in Arabic for us, all the time with a big grin on her face. I told her she could borrow the guitar for a bit, and she was so happy you would have thought I’d offered to give her a million dollars.
Now, after talking with Saedah and also with Rafael, who is a junior exchange student here from France, Megan wants to be an exchange student, too.
This is Rafael and his date for the prom. I’ve blogged about him before. He is also a great kid and very outgoing and friendly. Rafael’s family paid for his year here, while Saedah competed for a scholarship, and was one of 36 students selected out of a thousand who applied. Megan would be part of a program where we would also pay for her trip. She is going to work hard to help us come up with the money. She wants to go so badly…I don’t want to think too much yet about letting my daughter live away from me for a whole year! Saedah was only 15 when she came here last fall. I can imagine how much her parents miss her and can’t wait for her to come home.
Megan missed the deadline for her junior year this fall, but she could still apply to go for her senior year. If she still wants to go, after enough time has passed that it isn’t just a passing fancy, I will do what I can to help her. It isn’t like I have never had a child living on the other side of the world…Andy lived in Okinawa for two years and in Afghanistan for 7 months. I only survived because he could text me and post to facebook, which he does quite a bit. He even called from Afghanistan several times when it was his turn to use the phone.
Time is flying by so fast. Andy has re-enlisted, and we’re planning college visits already for the fall. Megan’s top choice for college? Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri…the Joplin that was ravaged by a tornado a couple years ago. Her top choice for a career? At this point, she wants to be a missionary.
Megan and I went to see the new Star Trek movie a few weeks ago at the local theater, and on the way home she told me she was inspired by how these young people were Saving The Universe. “I want to do that,” she said.
“Well,” I told her, “in real life, you know how you can make a difference in people’s lives? You could be a missionary.” She didn’t say much after that, and I really thought she was pooh-poohing me quietly, but I thought wrong. Again.
There are more than a few families in our church with children who are missionaries. They’ve gone to Papua New Guinea, the Sudan, Madagascar, and Russia, to name just a few. My faith will really be tested if I am going to let my youngest daughter go around the world, first in high school, and then for missions.
Life is sure different for my kids now than it was for me. The world is so much smaller, and with the Internet, Megan and Saedah can stay in touch for the rest of their lives, if they choose. Megan, Saedah, Raphael and all their friends have the whole world to choose from. I’ll just have to pray harder to find the courage to let them go, and that all too soon.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world. ~Mahatma Ghandi