Being on the mission field creates "family" in unique ways. Because you most often don't get to have biological family nearby, other kinds of family relationships tend to develop and become very meaningful.
Meet Lucy, one of my "nieces" here in Czech. She is one of Claire's dearest friends, but also very dear to me. I've had the joy and privilege of being "Auntie Connie" to her over the years.
She and her family moved here nine years ago to serve at BMA, the high school our kids attended.
We've spent holidays, birthdays, significant events, time at church, and a lot of just normal life together with she and her family through the years.
Today was one of those significant events, celebrating an important event in Lucy's life: her high school graduation.
Lucy, a very gifted artist, attended an art high school for four years in Ostrava. That meant riding the train an hour each way, every day, to get to school. That is commitment!
She lived in a completely Czech world during her high school years, developing deep friendships, sharing Christ, being a light for Him, and growing in her talent as an artist.
Not only did she graduate with honors for her grades, but also won an award for her "maturita" art project...too complicated (but SO amazing!) for me to even explain!
I had tears in my eyes throughout the graduation as I watched her with her friends and teachers - I could see that she'd made an impact and was deeply loved by them.
After the ceremony, we stood by and watched as friend after friend came to hug her, give her a gift, and speak words of love to her. Honestly, I was every bit the proud aunt as I looked on, seeing what a lasting imprint she has left on the people she's lived life with these past four years.
There was no lack of tears as she said her goodbyes, which were not easy. She leaves Czech this Saturday to head to the States where she'll spend the summer, and then enter Wheaton College in the fall to study in their art program.
Thankfully, we didn't have to say a final goodbye, just a "see you later". She'll be only 45 minutes away from Claire at Moody, and we'll be there in the fall so will see her soon too. Whew! I'm glad it wasn't goodbye today!
Lucy Rose Abigail Till - a most treasured friend and niece, who we love and adore!