The Hayes Zoo

Our Purpose

- to know God and use our entire lives in service to Him.

- to stand in the gap through prayer, giving and service to viable ministries in Latin America.

- to be transparent helpers of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, using our resources and skills that through the Holy Spirit, we might encourage and equip those who have less.

- to share a living perspective from Latin America to our churches, friends and family in the states and beyond.

Monday, June 15, 2009

"I LOVE MY LIFE" - Riley Hayes 11 years, 362 days old...

That is a direct quote.

This from the boy who is now, as of 10:28 this morning, 12 (TWELVE) years old.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Isn't he cute?

I never would've expected him to be living "this" life that he loves. For goodness sakes, he's lived in three different countries by now. He's watched us make choices based on what we feel God wants for our family as a whole and not primarily by what we desire in and of ourselves. He's reminded me a few times of that 'from the mouths of babes' phrase when I've been a doubting Thomas.

He's able to make friends with people from different walks of life and strike up conversations in two languages.

He loves exploring. He looks upon new places as an adventure to be had.

Creatures = bliss; in his definition of course.

He assumes everyone would like to hear about his latest find. He'd rather not bother with hanging out indoors. He's learning that his choices will shape his character (that's a lesson we're all working on...). Perspective. Life lessons that seem overwhelmingly crucial to me lately.

On the subject of life lessons...

The kids spent last week at a camp for missionary kids in Honduras, living it up. This was our kids' (and mine - but we won't dwell on that...) first experience with camp. When I was growing up, CAMP was a four letter word - and not a good one. We left the US before I even had to think about sending off my children ALONE for a week at a time to trust them to practical strangers. To trust them to drink enough water, BRUSH THEIR TEETH, change their clothes daily, and behave themselves.

It's about time right?

The drop off on Monday went smoothly - just a few 'oh my goodness I'm going to be without you' looks from Natalie and Janelle. Of COURSE Riley promptly got out of the truck, dumped his stuff off and went to see what interesting things (creatures and the like) this new environment held for him. I did manage to find him again to kiss him goodbye but the look of SHEER BREATHLESS ANTICIPATION of what the week could hold was priceless. Parting words of 'May God bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you' and 'Don't forget to brush your teeth every day' were said and off we parents went.

Fast forward to Saturday morning pick up. 6 DAYS later. I was excited to see them again and hear all the news of things I had no part in. Snuggling girls, smelly boy, big smiles, scratches and bruises, new friends, great mentors, encouragement for their walk. Wow. I'm grateful.

Then the crowning moment.

I was getting to meet one of the camp directors for the first time (they weren't there yet when we did the drop off...) and he launched into a story about Riley. Apparently at some time around the middle of the week the group was off at a local waterfall carousing. Riley was running through an area with no concept of others either around him or listening in and announces at the top of his lungs and to no one in particular,
"I. LOVE. my. life.!!!"

Even though he hurts pretty darn bad from throwing himself around and running 5 million miles an hour for the last week - he LOVES his life.

Does that ever do my heart good. :)

My son - here is my prayer for the rest of your life. The CAMP part where I will have less input (Control!!! YIKES - you scare me kiddo.) and only a vague idea of all the things you're doing.

2 Peter 1:3-8 His (God's) divine power has given you everything you need for your life and godliness through your knowledge of him who called you by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given you his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason,
make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self- control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (emphasis mine)

May you continue to build your character house on the grace and knowledge of Jesus and LOVE the life He has given you, in whatever path HE has before you. It's scary but I hope and will be looking for that look of SHEER BREATHLESS ANTICIPATION for what it can hold for you and your relationship with your Heavenly Father.

There are lessons I can learn from your wonder and excitement for what God has in front of you, even if you didn't brush your teeth those last couple of days at camp due to an incident with the bug repellent and a certain toothbrush.

With tons of love for my wild one,



mary grace said...

You made me cry, Faith. And also brought me some peace as I start down a few of my own giants. :-)

May the Lord continue to bless Riley, to keep him safe, and to smile upon his pursuit of His face.

Missus Wookie said...

Happy Birthday Riley!

Live Simply Love Strongly said...

I'm so glad to hear your kids are adapting well to this big life change. Are the girls doing equally as well? I hope that when we make this step that our kids will do well too.

Trish said...

Love this post. Your Riley is so grown up!

Love ya!


Michael said...

What a Great Statement..
Mr. Riley!!!

"I LOVE MY LIFE" too!! When I was a young man like you.. I thought LIFE was a GREAT ADVENTURE!!!! I was always looking for the to what was going to be around the 'next corner'.

My mom always called me her 'happy-go-lucky-boy".. life was one Great Adventure after another!!! You are blessed to have such Great Parents who 'listen' to God and 'then' actually do what He says!!!! This is the reason for your 'Great Life'!!!

Though time and distance may separate us.. you and your family are "ALWAYS" in our hearts and prayers!!! We miss you all soooooo much.. but we are soooooo blessed to see how God is using all of you for His Great and Wonderful Plans!!!!

WE LOVE YOU.. Keep looking for the 'next' Great Adventure' with Our Lord and Savior.. and you will Always.. LOVE YOUR LIFE!!

Riley.. you are a joy and encouragement to this Old Dad.. Papa.. and Pastor!!!

Because of Jesus..
Loving & Living.. God's Great Life & Adventure!!!

Pastor Mike