Dreaded or Rejoiced? You decide. Choose your own adventure.
I feel like the typical connotation of a family reunion is that of tension, strife, maybe a little bit of awkwardness, and filled with forced conversation. Not this reunion. Not this family. Full of joy, full of life, full of love, and full of laughter – loved ones who we have not seen since the year past reassemble, we meet brothers and sisters who we did not even know we had from small towns we did not even know existed with accents we have never heard, and greatest of all, prodigal sons and daughters lay down their pride, run to the family where they are so deeply loved, and are embraced with open arms and tears, and we finally get to say, “Welcome home, Brother. Oh, how we have missed you.”
GCYG and CYG, y’all are my family – my family in Jesus. We are His sons and daughters, and after this week, I am so thankful to have SEVEN new brothers and sisters.
Gulf Coast Church of Christ Youth Group: Ft. Myers, Florida
Sean Mac: First of all, thank you for not leaving me in Florida because I was late. Again, I am reallllllyyyy sorry about that, but this week was absolutely amazing. Thank you for shepherding us, mentoring us, and investing your lives in us crazy teens. I don’t know how you do it. I would’ve lost all sanity a long time ago. By God’s grace though, you haven’t, and I thank you for teaching us how To Kill a Heart of Darkness, how Jesus can transform our lives, and how to grow in closer relation with each other.
Alejandro Hernandez: Oh my goodness! I have a new brother!! On Friday, June 23, 2017, you made the single most greatest decision of your life to follow Jesus, and we all got to say, “WELCOME HOME.” I am so proud of your decision, and I cannot wait to see you learn and grow in your relationship with Jesus. You are a sweetheart, and the Lord has great plans for you. Never forget all that He says you are.
Harper: My dear Harper, My soul sister!! My favorite little “Clownfish.” I love you more than Nemo. You are such a beautiful girl, and I am so proud of your decision to enter into a relationship with Jesus. This is your decision, and no one will ever be able to take that away from you. Never forget all that God says you are!! And I am always here for you if you ever need anything!!
AudreyBlair and Shelbae: I love you two with all my heart, and I dread the day we have to go our separate ways for college possibly. I love our movie nights, late night talks, inside jokes, cute boy chats, socks with chacos, and just everything. Thank you for being two places of support, comfort, and strength. Y’all are in my prayers everyday.
Chase Goodwin: My homedog. I am so proud of the young man you have grown up to be. You are an honorable man of God, and a great leader. Thanks for being my brother and one of my best friends. I love you.
Central Church of Christ Youth Group: Benton, Kentucky
K-Dog: “It is a labor of love.” Yes, it sure is, and you love each and everyone of them fully and beautifully, even if it is “tough love” sometimes. I admire your heart for ministering to these CRAzY teens. They are lucky to have someone to lead them who cares for them as much as you do. I am so glad you are in Grant’s life as a God-honoring leadership figure and a positive influence. Thank you for taking me and letting me be part of the fam.
Kensley and Seth: I hope I never forget the moment in Devo when you two both decided you were ready to let Jesus transform your life. It was so beautiful. Poor Griffin was brought to tears of joy. I never ever want to forget that moment. My two new brothers in Christ, I am so proud of your decisions. This is only the beginning. I love you two. Y’all are so cute, and I hope you know you have someone almost 1,000 miles away praying for relationship with Jesus everyday.
Hallie, Klein, and Summer: Look at the joy. Look at the smiles. Can you feel all the love that surrounds you? I hope you always feel it. I am so proud of y’all for stepping out in faith and asking Jesus to radically transform your life. I cannot wait to see all that God will accomplish through you. You are washed clean. God sees you dressed in Pure White. You are so beautiful and precious in His sight. My new sisters, I love you so much. Never forget this day, Friday, June 23, 2017: the best day of your life.
Allee and Bailey: I don’t even know where to start with you. You’re joy and love is absolutely contagious. Not only are y’all gorgeous, but your hearts are SO beautiful. I am so proud of how much you two have grown and how strong you are. Thank you for being so loving to me. I am blessed to not only be able to call you friends but also to call you FAMILY. I love you.
XOXO, Lauren Grace