Seen, Known, Loved.

Military kids are a special and often overlooked demographic. Often moving three times during middle school and high school, they are experts at starting over. Their families can be sent anywhere: from the U.S., to Europe or Asia or any number of bases in between. They often fluidly transition to duel parent households to single parent households as a parent deploys for six months a time. They aren’t afforded the chance of growing up around grandparents, cousins, or long-term relationships. It’s a hard life that was chosen for them. 

Below is Elora’s story.

We met Elora in the spring of her junior year when she came out for soccer. I’ll be honest, Elora was thoroughly unimpressed with us, especially me. It took persistence and a thick skin to finally break down her walls. By the end of the season though, we had a great relationship and enjoyed laughing and joking through practice.

We were grateful for that building season, because her senior year was going to be rough. Her mom, the active duty member, deployed for six months in April. That left Elora and her dad to prep and plan for her senior year. The family waited and looked forward to her return that October. At least the family would be together for the spring and graduation. Unfortunately, as we say, the “needs of the service” came first. Upon her return, her entire unit was moved to another base in Italy. Just two months after her return, the family was moved again, just six months before Elora's graduation. Although sometimes possible to receive an extension, her family’s request was denied.

Her family decided, instead of making her start over and spend six months at a new school, they left her behind with family friends to complete the last few months of her senior year. Her dad was able to visit every few weeks to watch her soccer games, get her graduation in order, and celebrate that important time, but ultimately they were separated.

Elora and her family carried each other through that time with grace and strength. A terrible burden normally during a time of celebration. After graduation, Elora was reunited with her family for the summer before her mom deployed again in October, just to have returned two weeks ago. Collectively, her mom had deployed twice in 18 months.  

We’ve known half a dozen students with stories like Elora’s. Our goal is to create community for students who have sacrificed theirs. We hope to invite students into a family where they are seen, known and loved. And that regardless of where they are spiritually, they will feel the difference of the unconditional and true love of Jesus. Military kids often feel alone and through Campus Life, we show them they aren’t.

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