There is so much more going on in this photo than you can imagine.
Sixteen years ago, an almost-college-graduate came out for her spring break to see what God was doing in Central and Eastern Europe. She was assigned to spend two nights in our home, and we all promptly fell in love with her. Especially a normally timid six year old little girl who couldn't get enough of jumping into the arms of that college aged young woman.
As you might imagine, that six year old was Claire. And the almost-college-graduate was Becca McMartin, who ended up coming back after graduation and staying for EIGHT YEARS!
Her pioneering ministry of developing care for the children of our JV missionaries, including our own kids, changed all of our lives. And started something profoundly beautiful by creating a community of missionary kids who have an identity that we call the JV Kids.
Even though Becca has now been gone for eight years from that position, something very special took place today here in Portland.
After several hours of sweet, happy reminiscing of the life we once shared together, the conversation turned serious.
Becca, who long ago caught that little six year old girl into her arms in our living room in the Czech Republic, passed on the mantle of care for JV Kids to the grown-up version of that little girl.
Tears pressed into my eyes, and rolled down my cheeks as I listened in on a very sacred conversation between these two: the older woman commissioning the younger woman into the very position that she'd created because she fell in love with Claire, and the rest of the JV Kids.
As Becca's kind, loving and profoundly impactful words poured over Claire, I wrote down a few nuggets because they were so meaningful.
"I'm so glad it's you!" Becca said with that beautiful gleam in her eye that we all know and love.
"I've loved you since you were six, and I love who you've developed into today - someone that I resonate with, now as an adult! You are passionate about the same things as I am, and I love that about you."
"Now it is you who has exactly what the JV Kids need. They need what you will bring to them. Don't be Becca. Be Claire! Eight years ago I left a letter - I hope it's still there somewhere! It says 'To the next Becca' - who knew that would be YOU?! But I don't mean that you should be me. BE YOU! And in the end, know that it always was God doing something for the JV Kids, something that's bigger than either of us."
And then she prayed over Claire. Oh what a mighty, powerful prayer it was! I silently wept, hardly believing that this moment was happening. The moment that God knew all along.
That those eight years of Becca's love and life, would be the inspiration that God used to direct Claire into the life that he now has for her.
Only God. ONLY. GOD.
How I love him for weaving this exquisitely beautiful story.