Just in the last few hours we have had 2 significant conversations with 3 different students about various issues relating to character development. Steve likes to call those special conversations held in our office with said student seated in a large rocking chair "come to Jesus" moments. When we casually ask a student to come to our office for a talk they visibly stiffen and become very serious asking, "Am I in trouble?" These talks almost always end in hugs and better understanding all around.
This week the kids are attending spiritual retreats. The high schoolers are off campus about an hour away having their retreat and the middle schoolers are having daily programs on the school campus. Since 9 of our high schoolers are away our middle schoolers asked if they could have friends stay the night. So here we are with 3 of our own middle schoolers and 5 extra for company for the next two nights. We got off to a great start with a lovely enchilada dinner but not long after dinner there was a loud thunk from the basement where the kids were playing. Steve went to investigate and found one of the girls had slipped on wet tile and went down hard. She appeared fine, laughingly saying she wasn't hurt badly. I went to double check about 15 minutes later. She was being led around by a couple of concerned girls while she was still in her wet clothes.
It seemed she wasn't so fine after all. She had fallen then gone upstairs to the girls rooms and hung out a bit before coming into the kitchen for some ice. While she was sitting in the kitchen with several kids she suddenly asked why she was in the kitchen and why she was at UBAC. She at first struggled to remember coming this afternoon but soon remembered. What she couldn't remember was falling and the 10-15 minutes after the fall leading up to being in the kitchen. She kept assuring me she was fine however she said so through a pale face without much conviction. I called her dad and he quickly called a doctor. While he was talking to a doctor we asked our faithful neighbor who happens to be a most excellent nurse to come over if she wasn't too busy. She came right away, her flash light bobbing in the night as she walked the dirt path through the small forest our homes nestle near. She had her blood pressure cuff and stethoscope, as well as the nifty ear flashlight thingy. She checked her out and deemed the student to be doing very well considering. Then the dad called back and talked with Steve for a while then talked with the nurse then me. Another of the student's dad will be stopping by soon as he is a local very trusted pediatrician. Most likely all will be fine and we will have a night of waking the student up every few hours just to be sure. The other student's doctor dad did come and do a very thorough exam. We are blessed to have so much support so quickly. Within a couple of hours we had a phone consult with a surgeon, a personal visit with a nurse followed by a house call by a respected pediatrician.
The first day of retreat was Tuesday. We woke at our normal time in a house without power and were preparing breakfast for the kiddos when the ringing of Steve's phone startled us in the quiet of the morning. Tragically one of the RFIS student's dad had died of an apparent heart attack. This student is one of Joe's best friends and a dear friend of Megan and Sam's. What a shock. We told our kids the sad news as they gathered in the living room before they left for school. It was a mix of shock and tears as the students processed this terrible news and we prayed for the student and his family. Everything was delayed as this is a small community and various things had to be taken care of. Our subdued students went off to school with Steve in the van full of suitcases and pillows and backpacks. Steve came back and worked with another neighbor to go about restoring power. The school and one of our neighbors had power but the rest of our neighbors did not. After some investigation the power problem was narrowed down to our hostel neighbor's circuit breaker in the guard shack. Steve was to standby in the guard shack as our neighbor went to the school and flipped the main power switch at some kind of junction. So Steve had just stepped out of the guard shack when a huge pop and flash filled the shack. Steve was glad to have not been in the shack when that happened. Me too! Phew!
The staff gathered all the students in the chapel. They prayed and sang together for about an hour as details were worked out. The buses were called and arrived with just a 2 hours delay from the original time. Megan had gone with a couple of girls, a teacher and a mom to visit their shocked and grieving friend before leaving for retreat. We skype called Joe last night to tell him what was going on. He was on break at his campus janitor job there at Moody. He was shocked and deeply saddened. It was so hard to be so far away from him. He just wanted to be here to help his friend through this terrible time. We didn't talk long as he had to get back to work. It is really sucky to not be with Joe when we have to communicate such tough stuff.
So the high schoolers are at retreat and the middle schoolers are here. We will be up every few hours to make sure our guest is responsive and well. She will miss retreat tomorrow as her dad and mom need to get scans and keep a close watch on her. It's been a week...