There is a scene in the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King that has always made me tear up ever-so-slightly. It is simple yet elegant, thanks to the genius of Tolkien’s writings.

Standing at the Grey Havens, with the Hobbits and Elves, Gandalf the White says:

“Farewell, my brave Hobbits. My work is now finished. Here at last, on the shores of the sea… comes the end of our Fellowship. I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.”

Tears. Pretty much every time. Why? Because you know their story. You know what they’ve struggled to accomplish. What it cost them. What they’ve overcome. You feel the journey. You were on the journey with them. And it is hard to say goodbye.

And as of now, it is almost too poignant. Almost too perfect.

In a very short period of time, I will be standing outside the doorway of the Middle School room, Room 213. In a very short period of time, I’ll be looking back at the students and saying, “Farewell, my brave Hobbits.” And in a very short period of time, I know that the tears will come. Goodbyes are hard.

I have spent the last near-decade of my life (my twenties) on a journey with this ministry. This fellowship. And it has been the greatest adventure I could have ever expected. What started as a simple invitation to throw dodgeballs at students turned into something so much more.

I’ve been blessed enough to:

  • Witness students get dunked in the water by their Pastor, as they professed their love of Jesus publicly.
  • Pray with students who decided to take the first step in their relationship with Christ.
  • Comfort those students who broke down in tears on numerous retreats to Berea.
  • Root for the Pirates, the Diamondbacks, the Minuteman Flames, the Warriors, the Beavers, the Hillers, the Orioles, Team Bubbles, and countless others as I have watched students compete and leave it all on the field.
  • Be invited into homes to spend time getting to know the families of students, finding a gracious and warm welcome in the process.
  • Be invited to birthday parties, graduation parties, family outings to Six Flags or the latest movie.
  • Receive countless hugs, handshakes, kind words, and love from students and families alike.
  • Speak to students about my friend Jesus and tell them about His love.
  • Walk alongside students throughout their daily lives.
  • Witness the shy, quiet kids grow comfortable and more confident.
  • Been woken up at 1:15 am a few times to be there for a student when they needed me during an overnight event. 🙂
  • Work alongside the best student ministry leaders in the world.

More than that, though, I have been blessed enough to do what God called me to do for a time. He gave me the ability to connect with Middle School students and teenagers, and used it for his purpose. I still do not understand the full measure of His work, but I cannot wait to see how He works in their lives.

One thing remains certain, however, He used them to change my life. I am a better person for having been privileged enough to be used by God. I simply had to say “Yes.”

It has truthfully been my privilege and my pleasure to have done this for as long as I have. I do not yet know where my next step is taking me, but I know that by going with God, I’m on the right path.

Thank you.

Jeremy

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