We celebrated August's 19th birthday and high school graduation this past weekend with a party for his friends and their families. If I look back to this time a year ago, I would have never predicted in a million years how August's senior year would have turned out. . .It all started last August, at a discussion during dinner one night about Austin's upcoming deployment and Brittany's plans for the coming year. . Brittany (our daughter-in-law) was considering living with some of Austin's missionary friends in Guatemala for a portion of the time while he was gone. August spoke up and said, " Man, I wish I could do that." and Austin said "Go ask the principal if you can graduate early and go with her." So, 2 weeks before school started, August asked Mr. Brandon, the high school principal, if this was possible, and Mr. Brandon rearranged August's entire academic schedule to get it done. . We couldn't believe it. So right as school started, August made the decision to graduate in December. God was moving. . .
Football season began and August had a big cheering section as many of the college students from our Sunday Night College Bible study would come to his games at Miles. Many of them were from small schools and were old football players themselves, but a few hadn't been to a small town West Texas football game before, so it was always fun and festive, even on the nights when the Bulldogs came up short on the final score. August played linebacker and running back, so he was on the field every play all night long and played his heart out every down. My 2 favorite memories were the Christoval game, where everything went right for the Bulldogs, and August was all over the field --a touchdown, an interception, tons of tackles and Miles beat Christoval for the first time in years.
The other favorite was the last play of the game against Bronte. . Austin and Brittany had come from Ft. Hood to watch. . . Miles was not going to win the game, and on the last play the coaches had called something just to run the clock out. . so August told the guy in the backfield who was supposed to get the ball to trade places with him (so that August would be the ball carrier--not what the coaches had planned). August broke loose and ran for a 60-yard touchdown as the clock ran out, with his brother running down the sidelines with him, cheering him on in his army uniform. . it was priceless. . August was named to the Class 1A All-West Texas Team as a 1st team utility player. It was a great way to finish off his football career.
Another big highlight in the Fall was the Robotics Contest which August participated in with guys from his physics class. . .the guys built a robot and programmed it to do several tasks and spent hours and hours perfecting the programming. August's team swept the competition against several schools, most of which were larger than Miles ISD. His team gave a presentation to the entire school about what they had done and it was a fine day for the math geeks!
In January, August left for 5 weeks in Guatemala to help Charlie and Pat Reynolds, missionaries who have a Christian school for 150 students about 2 hours from Guatemala City. Brittany went with him and stayed for 2 weeks, and they helped at the school in the mornings and did construction in the afternoons. August perfected his welding skills and got to spend lots of quality time with Pat and Charlie, as well as Bob and Georgette Kornegay. One of the highlights for him was to go to Rio Bravo, a ministry up in the mountains where August and the other missionaries took food to some very destitute children. How far our American dollars went to feed those children made a huge impression on him. . .
He returned home in March to begin another adventure. . this time with TeenPact (http://www.teenpact.com/) Teenpact is a Christian group that helps educate high schoolers about the governmental process--the structure of state and national governments and how legislation is made and passed- - -all with a Christian perspective. He had participated in Teenpact for the first time during his junior year, . . and because he had graduated early, he had the opportunity help staff these conferences this spring and to travel to VA, CA, MT, ME, LA, TN and spend two weeks at our state capitol in Austin. . . it was a door that only God could open for him. We didn't plan any of this and we didn't see it coming. . .
And so we come to the end of August's Senior Year. This summer he will be gone again, traveling with Worldview Academy (http://www.worldview.org/) to 7 college campuses across the western US, helping staff conferences for high schoolers on Christian Apologetics. Again, another opportunity that only God could ordain.
What have we as parents learned from this year? We have learned to be flexible, to let go of traditions, to be sensitive to how the Holy Spirit is shaping and molding each child, and to be open to giving them a wide variety of experiences-spiritual, academic, athletic, etc. - so that God can direct their paths in way we could never dream of. . One thing we have prayed against is to have "cookie-cutter" children. . .children who WE molded and shaped and made decisions for. . We have always asked God direct them and for us to be acutely aware of that. . .
Each of our children have had such different life experiences to this point that the only way to explain it is recognizing God's hand on their lives. . Proverbs 19:21 says " Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails."
Part of August's cheering section at the home football games. It was a ton of fun to have them all there for the games. . .
The Robotics team: Coach and Mrs. Graves, Will Chaney, Eric Schwertner, August, Doni Sewell and Clayton Alley.
August leading a PE class in Guatemala .
August at a Teenpact Conference in Austin, TX