Today is Trae’s birthday. In his honor, I decided to post the ‘mini-speech’ I gave at his high school graduation banquet more than 2 years ago – along with some fun pictures. His story is being written on a daily basis, and I’m sure at some point I’ll blog about that. But for today, I just want to say Happy Birthday. You, my son, are an answer to prayer.
Trae, I remember the day I found out you were coming. Dad, Mr. Organized, wrote in his Franklin Planner that his 1st son would be born in October ’92. You arrived in October ’91. I was happy because I didn’t want to wait a year for you. We knew that someday we’d be in Africa so we started praying before you were born that you’d be adaptable and fit in wherever God placed us. We saw the answer to that prayer. We got off the plane in Niger at 6am and you heard kids playing next door to Grama and Grampa’s house. You insisted on playing with them immediately. The next few hours found you directing all the activities going on — you insisting that all these Zarma children understood your English. What they understood was your loud voice and gestures. In Maradi, you were a very valid part of our ministry, particularly children’s ministry and music. We appreciate how motivated you are, which is why you were a successful homeschooler. I would often find you in your room at 7am, almost done with the day’s lessons. Not because you loved learning so much, but because you wanted to go outside and play with your friends. That motivation has served you well, and will continue to bring you success. Speaking of success, we recognize that you have many gifts and abilities. What we want you to recognize is that they are all God-given. Given to you to help fulfill the purpose for which He created you. I believe you have already been faithful with what God has given you and because of that, He’ll increase those gifts even more and will use you to establish His Kingdom. One day you’ll understand that there is no greater joy than to see your children loving and serving God. But for now you should know that you have brought us that joy. I can’t even express how much you will be missed when we return in January. We will intensely feel your absence in both our family and ministry. But at the same time we are so excited about this new stage of life you are beginning. You have learned (sometimes the hard way) that when you make the choice to obey God, there is absolutely nothing that is impossible. We are so proud of you and it brings me great joy to say that you, Trae Childs, are my son.