The graduation party was a huge success!!!! We had over 30 people and enough food for double that - and then some!
It was such fun decorating and getting things ready. And boy am I glad I actually cleaned underneath our couch as it was moved out of the way for the entertainment! It's those little things that make me smile -- God's hand all the way.
My parents made it, Randy and Charlotte from the IGO headquarters in Mobile, AL made it, our neighbors made it, families of the graduates made it and Pastor Dave even made it back after his trip to Florida -- he hadn't slept since Thursday night but he and Lisa made it!
We had a wonderful cookout, thanks to our neighbors letting us borrow their grill. Like I said, food for an army! After the meal we were able to give the graduates their certificates. Randy had a few encouraging and supportive words for them and Monty and I had some "fun" certificates to give them. Mary and Bruce got certificates for perfect attendance. Pastor Dave got one for being the world's best host and coffee maker (when he was gone we didn't have coffee -- he said those weren't official classes without coffee), Del and his wife, Jean got one for being the world's best square donut providers and Karen got one for earning the most stickers on her homework week after week!
Following the meal and presentations we let the entertainment begin. Terry and Cheryl and their 9 kids made the trip and just as we promised --- incredible! They sang and played their instruments and brought tears to everyone before the night was over! Their harmony is amazing and every single person was blessed. Our neighbor got to hear the song that was played at her mother's funeral, "10,000 Angels", we paid tribute to the 4th of July and all of us felt the love of God right there in our family room due to their incredible talents! My Dad also got his request of "God bless America" with us all joining in. It's extra special when all of them join together and sing!!!! That's alot of kids and that's alot of blessings!!!!
We are so thankful, so honored and so blessed to have facilitated this education over the past 6 months! What an awesome God we serve!
This morning we headed south to Bedford to meet up with Randy and Charlotte and "officially" give Mary her certificate. She is our youngest student and this Thursday she will be heading to Ecuador where she will begin putting her education to use! She will be living with one of the local Pastors there and teaching English at the university. She will also be working with the youth at their church. It was an honor to not only present her with her certificate but to also let her church congregation know that she has had extensive training and also has a family of support going with her. It was also the opportunity to let the congregation know how important their support and prayers are for her!
After a wonderful lunch where we could finally talk with Randy and Charlotte they were headed to get some rest and we headed home to do the same.
For me this afternoon has been a time of reflection over the last 6 months -- seeing God's ultimate plan and being so thankful that He always has the plan! We, including Mary, had no idea she would be heading into the mission field, some of the students had no idea why they were signing up for classes but they just knew they should, and to see it all come to completion is awesome. I am so anxious to see God's next step with all of them!
Until next time . . . what are we all going to do on Tuesday nights with classes done?
Blessings and congratulations and love to each and every student -- Pastor Dave, Chad, Mary, Del, Bruce and Karen -- good job to all of you! God's mighty army ready for the front lines!
Susan and Monty