In February, the tragic loss of an F16 pilot rocked our world. Maj Gruenther's death touched everyone. Mindy is a student that attends Club Beyond; her dad is also a pilot. Here is a quote she put on Facebook after the plane went down. “We wait, for the sound of the fourth jet landing. For the text that says ‘on my way home.’ For the call that says he’ll be late, but he’ll be home.”  Many students have moms and dads that work on the planes. Their parents were asking themselves, “Did I do/not do something that caused that plane to go down?” There were meetings, briefings, and a steady stream of folks looking for a chaplain or someone to talk to. It was my privilege to love on, pray for, and support a group of young wives of pilots who are pregnant with their first babies and grieving with their friend, knowing that it could just as easily be one of them. They are far from home, parents, and families.

To add to our grief, we said “goodbye” to some students and leaders. Samantha was invited to come to Club Beyond by her friends about 18 months ago. Over that time she vocalized on more than one occasion she attended Club Beyond to learn more about Christianity and Club was a “safe place” to ask questions. She moved to Virginia in February and as we said goodbye, this is what she told me, “Although the first seven months were really rocky here, I can't be more thankful for meeting the right friends and finding out about Club Beyond. Today was bittersweet, but it's like I can already hear the US calling my name.” She was really nervous about entering her new school. I have gotten a message from her, and one day at lunch she spent half of her lunchtime in a bathroom stall because she didn’t know anyone. I have prayed with and for her. She is looking forward to finding a church and promised to attend with a friend. Her parents do not attend church and she won’t have her driver’s license until November.

We also said goodbye to Caleb and Jordan. Jordan worked with me on staff for nearly a year. They are moving to Korea for the next couple of years and they will be a family of three in August. Although it is difficult to say goodbye, I would not exchange one moment of grief to miss what each person has brought to my life. I am grateful to be living my life, doing what God asked me to do, pointing people to Jesus.

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