Friday, June 12, 2009

A Salute to the Salutatorian: Our Heather

There's lots to celebrate today. Besides President Ronald Reagan's famous Tear down this wall! speech at Brandenberg Gate, Berlin on this date in 1987 and besides today's being Russia Day across this great land, today is the day that Heather Anita Emch graduates from high school. She's quite accomplished at 18 years of age and I am one very proud auntie.

Heather's a smart cookie. . . she's salutatorian out of 230 students, graduating from a school in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. English is her best subject - although her only B came from Honors English 11 - but she's okay with physics and chemistry too. (Where on earth did all that come from?)

Heather's more than just bookish though. She is quite the athlete and runs cross-country. And she loves God. For years, Heather found ways to get herself to church, catching rides with childhood friends who were going. Now she's active in a friendly little country church there in rural North Carolina, busy with youth activities and teaching children's Bible classes.

A couple years back, Heather showed her absolute determination, announcing that she wanted to go to Peru on a mission trip. She had read in Brio magazine about a Focus on the Family sponsored mission trip to Lima and she said, Well, why not? She would be one of 600-plus other youth going together and doing community outreach, orphanage work, puppet shows and lots more.

Never mind that she would need to raise $3,000, get a passport and connect with others she'd never met before. But what a trooper. Heather busied herself collecting funds - people just handed her donations and she sold boxer shorts, of all things, door-to-door - and it happened. She went to Lima for two weeks and it is was life-changing. Into a new culture, out of her comfort zone but who would've ever known it? The girl's got grit, I tell you. ;)

What are you reading there, Heather - a telephone book? I asked her recently. It's a Bible of course and that's the photo Heather chose for her graduation announcement. See, she knows a good book when she sees it. Heather plans to study English at Erskine College, South Carolina. I understand there's quite a nice scholarship awaiting her there. (Quick update: I just got off the phone with Heather and now she's thinking about science education ~ another great choice.)

Some advise to Heather, just in case she were to ask me for words of wisdom (I suppose it could happen, that she would ask. . .):

*To whom much is given, much is required. Keep on using your gifts to the glory of God.

*Keep on making smart choices. Seems that our enemy, the devil focuses on destroying (or derailing or distracting) the smartest, most capable folks, those most inclined to make a difference in the world. Keep an eye on him ~ he's one crafty serpent and it's likely that he's got his eye on you.

*Please drive carefully. Your brothers say that you drive too fast and too close to the mailboxes. Please be careful Heather.

* Enjoy these years. Study hard, make friends and have fun. Challenging as college is, it's good preparation for the rigors awaiting in world of work and/or mommying or whatever.

*Remember Who loves you even more than your parents, your brothers or any of the rest of us. Walk ever more closely and more intimately with Him. May I recommend keeping a prayer journal.

Love you so very much dear, precious Heather. You know, now that I think about it, I want to be just like you when I grow up. ;)

1 comment:

Jeanette said...

A moving tribute to your niece. And your words of wisdom couldn't be more true. If only someone had seen my potential going south and given me such stirring (and public) advice.

I wish I knew your Heather. And I look forward to meeting her in Eternity.