For my boy,
I want you to remember, while you’re flying across the ocean for 13 hours, to honour the people who are sitting around you. Your space is confined and I know you won’t be completely comfortable but remember those people on either side of you? They aren’t comfy either and will be even less so if you keep bumping them with your backpack or spill your ginger ale in their lap. Be courteous.
I want you to remember that you’re not in Canada anymore and things may be done just a smidge differently. I don’t know what this might look like cause I’ve never been to Ireland before but follow the cue of those who are taking care of you. If they wait to eat, you wait. If they say hello to that person you pass on the street, do likewise. Remember that pants are called trousers and underwear are called pants. Don’t confuse the two or it may be awkward. Be adaptable.
I want you to remember that you’re an ambassador. You’re an ambassador of our country, represent us well. Make people see that there is something special about Canada. (The west, in particular) You’re also an ambassador of Christ, represent Him well. When you’re painting faces or fences, when your cleaning up the streets or engaging those on the streets, when you’re going and doing and being, know that your purpose is to show more than you. More than a great time, more than a kind kid, more than all the doing can add up to. You’re there to show Jesus. Be His.
I want you to know that we are right behind you cheering big cheers and yelling you can do it’s when you don’t think you can. We’ll be clapping to the rhythm of your steps and fist pumping your courage. We can’t be there with you but know that we are. Know that we are your biggest fans. Know that we admire your bravery in even choosing to take on this adventure and know that we are in it with you each step of the way. When you’re tired we’ll be your pillow and when you’re scared we’ll be your brave and when you wonder why you thought this would be a good idea know that we did too. Take Heart.
I want you to know that we miss you more than words can say. I know it because you’re not gone yet and each time I think of the 31 days that you’ll be out of our grasp it makes me want to throw up. It makes me think we shouldn’t have agreed to this and what were we thinking and who sends their child across the ocean for 31 days?!
I want you to know that Jesus is worth it. He’s worth me missing you. He’s worth feeling a bit scared. He’s worth the discomfort on the plane and the exhaustion you’ll feel after a day on the streets. He’s worth the money you saved, the homesick you’ll feel and every second that you make less of yourself and more of Him. He’s worth your time and your sweat and your tears. Be strong and courageous.
I want you to know that there is incredible joy in serving. That it may seem like you’re going in to help people out but you’ll be rewarded with the fun, the laughter, and a soul satisfaction of giving of yourself for the sake of those around you. There may be tasks that you don’t want to do or some that seem more glamorous than others but each one is necessary and one not greater than the other. Humble yourself.
I want you to know that as much as you are ours you belong more completely to One greater. Know that we are holding on so tight to you with a completely open grasp. We are allowing you to listen to Jesus call on your life and the Holy Spirits promptings and we are letting you go with hearts wide open but arms that sort of, kind of, just want to envelope you and never let go. But this is you saying yes and so we put aside our own feelings of never wanting you to leave and we send you off into the world for 31 days to see what your God has in store for you. We pray he rocks your world. We pray that your wings would spread and that you would soar. We pray that your vision would be expanded and that you would see afresh. We pray that you would be His so completely and that He would be yours every. single. day. Keep saying yes.
I want you to know that even though I’m not there to see, you still need to brush your teeth.