Monday, June 20, 2011

Auf Weidersehen, GG!

After a busy weekend filled with lots of hugs and laughter and ending with a going-away party, we put GG ("German Girl" - our exchange student from Munich) and her mom on the airplane early yesterday morning. They are currently in New York City for a week (GG's 18th birthday gift from her parents) and then they will return to Germany next Monday.

GG had some severe migraines in May, which she had never had before, and to avoid her being sent home early, her mom came two weeks earlier than she had originally planned, and she was able to spend three weeks here. They spent a lot of time doing tourist-y things around town, but the biggest benefit was that GG's mom was able to attend our church for three Sundays instead of just one. What a "coincidence" (not!) that the sermon series just happened to be on the basics of faith! Lots of seeds were planted, and mom is interested in finding an evangelical church with GG when they return to Germany. Another wonderful benefit was that she was able to meet and get to know some of the folks at church who have been special to GG and who have invested in her life during this past year.

The party Sunday night was lots of fun. Another couple co-hosted it with us at their house which was such a blessing. Not only do they have a pool but the first time we discussed the party back in May, my friend had it planned in about 5 minutes and it took minimal effort on my part! I did the Evites and bought the hot dogs and chips and that was it! For those of you who know what my May was like, this was absolutely a gift from God. I had no idea how I was going to pull a party off!

Besides seeing GG have fun with her friends, the sweetest part of the evening came when our youth minister gathered everyone together. I presented GG with a special remembrance (described in the next paragraph), and then the youth minister invited folks to share something they will remember about GG. After several had done that, everyone gathered around GG and her mom for a time of prayer. There were several moist eyes when we were done!

I was so honored to be able to put together a Blessings Book for GG which was filled with over 20 letters that many of these people wrote to GG to encourage her as she returns to Germany. As I formatted them and printed them on the colorful paper, it blew me away how each person focused on a unique aspect of GG's life and spiritual growth and so many included Bible verses. . . .and none of them were the same! She was so delighted when I presented it to her at the party last night. (And the fact that it was hot pink and decorated with butterflies--her two favorites!--made it even better!) There was also a large professional banner (thanks to the co-hosting husband, who is an advertising guru!) that everyone at the party was able to sign for her to take back and hang on her wall. I loved reading what the youth and even the adults wrote on that as well.

Then we all got up early yesterday to head to the airport. GG's mom had to turn in her rental and we had all their luggage loaded in my van. The rental and curbside baggage check went smoothly and quickly (thanks to the kind employee who didn't charge them when one of the 3 bags went just over the 50 lb mark!). The security line was pretty long, as expected on a Monday morning, so we couldn't linger. Saying good-bye was hard for everyone. Hugs and tears and smiles were shared, and since they couldn't quite part, my girl stood in the security line with them as it snaked back and forth until it got to the last place where she could slip out.

So many things to be grateful for in our technologically advanced world - Skype and Facebook and email. But most of all, while we hope to see GG one day, either here or in Germany, what a wonderful thing to know that we are now fellow citizens of an eternal kingdom, and that. . .
Friends are friends forever
If the Lord's the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
For the welcome will not end
Thought it's hard to let you go,
In the Father's hands we know
That a lifetime's not to long to live as friends.


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Joyce said...

Sounds like you made the send off very special! And how wonderful her experience here was too ...she'll treasure the memories I'm sure.

sara said...

oh, this post made me tear up!!! Love the remembrance book!! so, so special. I have one from the last church we left and I read it often when I am missing everyone!!

Who knew what a special bond was coming when you first agreed to have GG in your how God works!!!

Beth said...

What a neat send off for GG and her mom. God works in mysterious ways, doesn't He?

GG will never forget her time here and you will have a never, either. Great memories for your family!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Sounds like a great and fun send off....What a great life experience

quilly said...

Your post left me crying -- I am uncertain if it's in happiness or sadness!

bp said...

Such a sweet post. I have enjoyed reading about GG's time here and how God has worked in her life. What a blessing how He worked everything out all along for her to be with your family.


What a precious post. I loved every bit of it and read it twice. I love the song piece at the end. I sang that song our last Sunday at Waverly and tried not to cry as I said goodbye to my sweet peeps at our first church.