Back in the fall of 2006, I would drive a friend’s daughter to Kindergarten in the mornings. At that time, we had decided to leave all we knew and make the colossal move into full-time missions, leaving everything we knew and abandoning our personal goals for our future in lieu of exclusively what God had for us. As I was driving through the tiny town of Belle Fourche, South Dakota, after dropping off the little girl one morning, I remember telling the Lord that I was going willingly to Peru, but a part of me was sad that we wouldn’t experience some of the “normal American things” that families get to do – drop their kids off at school, Boy Scouts, PTA. Silly things that don’t matter in the scheme of things. Yet, it seemed big at the time.
You were born in Lima, Peru, and we had no intention of ever not living in Lima. As far as we knew, God was keeping us there permanently. It was home. And then He said NOPE and pulled us back out for another huge transition back to the U.S. But, even though we were living here, we never really thought our life would look “normal.” Missionaries just never “get to” live “normal” lives. Or so we thought.
On your fifth birthday, nine years after that melancholic drive through Belle Fourche, I found myself in another car, reflecting on life again. This time, I realized that yes, we have given everything we know to serve the Lord full-time. Yet, He has given us this tremendous privilege to have a smattering of “normal” all throughout our lives. The drive this time took me to your Christian school, homemade cupcakes in tow, for a rather “normal” birthday celebration in your Kindergarten class. Really, I never thought I’d get to do that.
As the first five years of your life prove, we have NO idea what God has in store for you. This was a big year for you – becoming a big sister again, accepting Jesus as your Savior, and starting school. We anticipate even more exciting things as you go through this year. You are loved by Jesus – He drew you to Himself while you were young. We hope you never take that for granted and that you learn what it truly means to be a “Christian” because it’s so much more than a prayer.
We love your smile, your independence, and your personality. You are imaginative, creative, artistic, musical, smart, compassionate, and friendly. Oh, little girl, let Jesus develop all of that into an amazing woman of God!
We love you so very much, Elena Ruth. Happy 5th Birthday!
Love, Mommy (& Daddy)