I am just thrilled to announce that Gabriel and Alei spent their first day in Colorado yesterday. I truly am just so happy - it's not that I didn't think they would actually make it there, it's more that I have truly seen God's plan for Gabriel's year unfold and although it seemed too difficult at times - he is there. As a very basic overview, Gabriel was set on joining the Marines. I am very pro-military, but I did not feel that it was the right thing for him to do. I prayed and tried to arrive there, but I couldn't and didn't. There were times that I was very discouraged and Gabriel was very frustrated because I wasn't supporting what he wanted to do. The very weekend before he considered signing, I prayed for a clear sign if there was another direction Gabriel should go.
That very evening, in my inbox came a blog from a pastor's wife in Colorado that I always read. She wrote about this program, Escape Average Leadership Intensive, which is a leadership internship for kids the year after high-school and before "real" college. I read it and thought, "OK, God, this is all that is presenting itself." I pulled JD in to the office and we talked about it. He was fully supportive, but told me that he didn't think Gabriel would even consider it. When we presented the idea to Gabriel, he walked away saying that he would think and pray about it. We were both pleasantly surprised.
Gabriel had a few rough weeks, as he kind of lived frustrated that he had several options (I kept also pointing out the community college nearby,) and didn't know which way to proceed. After a somewhat frustrating, but humorous conversation, that began by JD reminding him that he really needed to be seeking God about His will for his life, he blurted out that "of course, God wants him to go to the leadership program, so he'll go."
After the decision, there were still definite hurdles - mostly financial. We told him that we would pay for the program, but he still needed to be responsible for 1/2 his monthly car insurance bill, all his car repairs, his gas and spending money. The tough part is that he isn't allowed to work at all during the nine month program, so he had to save up enough for driving across the country twice and the nine months in between. Due to the fact that Gabriel isn't a saver by heart, we had several conversations about his spending and how he wasn't saving enough... At one point, Gabriel really threw himself into it and stopped spending and started picking up extra hours. There were a few months of him working up to 12 hour days, six days a week and spending next to nothing. Right before he left, he had an unexpected $700 car repair and he had more than enough to pay it and still have his monthly living expenses covered for the year.
So, him being there is just a big sigh of relief. The family that he and Alei are currently staying with also seem to be a huge answer to prayer! It feels so good to know that at the end of the struggles and sometimes conflict, Gabriel is right where God wants him. We are excited to see what God does with Gabriel and through Gabriel this year.
Here's a look at the serious side of my son -
On a separate note, Gabriel attempted to do delayed entry for the intelligence program of the Navy days before he left, but due to the time of the month, they were unable to slot him into that either. So, we all feel that God wanted the doors left open or him.