Monday, January 30, 2006

Pray for Alayna

Please pray for Alayna….

Over the last 7 months, we have been concentrating on Renee, and her health needs. Alayna (19), we thought, was a well-adjusted Christian teenager, going to university, attending church, volunteering for choir, drama, and youth leadership. In June she started hanging out with this rock climbing enthusiast guy, who was also working part time at the Centennial Concert Hall.

During my first meeting with him, I found that he had no moral compass, no sense of God, and was totally illiterate as far as the Christian message is concerned. I presented him with a How to Find God New Testament, and reviewed the basics of salvation with him, urging him to read the Word for himself. He attended church maybe a ½ dozen times.

From time to time I would discuss issues with Alayna regarding Joel and faith. He claimed to be a Christian on the basis of following the good teachings of the Bible. Over time I became more and more concerned about his salvation and the effect of his worldview on Alayna. I suggested that she should tell him she could not see him again unless he became a born again Christian. She agreed that that might be a good idea, but she never acted on it.

She knew that I was concerned about her relationship with Joel, and my opposition to her continuing on with him as long as he did not commit himself to the Lord. I asked her if she wanted me to get to like Joel. She said she would. I told her that if she would go away for 3 months to study (all expenses paid) at one of the Torchbearer Schools in Spain and if, when she came back, she still wanted to date Joel, then I would make a real effort to get to like him. She thought that would be a good idea.

I took to calling him Mr. Manners. Not once has he ever greeted me with anything but a grunt. Never, “How do you do Mr. Dueck?”, or “How is Renee?” He would come into the house and stand still staring like a statue. Mostly he totally ignored me.

When trying to engage him in light conversation, nothing came out, unless you started talking about issues that counter-culture people hold dear. At one after-church lunch at our house, he started to get very animated and yelling across the table about how the CIA reported Canada’s life expectancy was higher that the US’s. “Why would the CIA tell lies?” he yelled across the table at me. I am not sure what the point of that outburst was. I checked various sources and found that the life expectancies were statistically tied. If one wanted to make a point about life expectancy, Japan would serve as the best example.

At Alayna’s birthday party, she had invited some of her high school friends, including an articulate, intelligent music major. I happened to sit next to him, and had conversation with him about various interesting topics. At one point we started talking about Iraq. All of a sudden Joel piped up from the other end of the table, in that loud abrasive voice of his, “That’s a lie!” If I wasn’t so polite, I should have sent him packing then and there.

At a lunch at Joel’s parents’ house, the topic had been – is it better to burp at the table, or to fart at the table? Joel’s mom had thought farting was more polite than burping.

In January, Alayna dropped out of university. She said she wanted some time off. Originally she had wanted to travel in Europe. When I offered her the opportunity to study in Spain, she turned it down. She traveled to work with me for 2 weeks, just being my assistant, and observing my work. She said she might want to switch to an MBA program.

We heard about the “Couples of Promise” cruise with, and we thought that might be a good break for us. Renee was at, Alayna said she’d go looking for a job, and Karalee was still in high school. With 2 available drivers, Karalee should be able to get around to her classes and appointments. We thought the home front was taken care of.

We needed to clean out the apartment in New York, so we flew out a few days early, cleaned out the apartment, saw a potential client there, and then flew to Fort Lauderdale to sail on Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas for 5 nights. The program on board was interesting and uplifting.

We came off the boat on Thursday morning. Finally we had phone connections. We called home. Renee answered the phone. She had an appointment with a specialist and was wondering who would take Karalee to school and pick her up after the exam. I said, “What about Alayna, what is she doing?” Renee responded with, “Didn’t you know, Alayna went to Phoenix by car? She went with Joel. They left yesterday.”

That came as an absolute shocker. Never in our wildest nightmares had we expected that Alayna would do such a thing. Clearly she had been psychologically abducted and seduced by a dangerous psychopath. What could we do? What should we do? Could we fly home right away and find her? She was not answering her cell. The message on the cell said she’d be home Feb 7. We left messages on her cell. We left messages on her friend’s voice mail.

Could we have Alayna arrested and brought home? On what grounds? An hour later we went to a beachfront restaurant for lunch. Providence seated us next to a police officer, so we could discuss our options. Turns out that the only option we would have is that if she had taken our car, we could have her arrested for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. She did not take our car. They went with Joel’s parents’ car.

We called Joel’s mom to express our shock and dismay at this turn of events. “This goes against everything we have taught her!” We asked her to tell Alayna to call if she heard from her.

Alayna has not called. We have heard through her friend’s mom that they arrived in Phoenix.

What is this world coming to? Why is the Bible not relevant any more? Why does God’s Word not matter? Are we forgetting that we will have to “give account” for every word we utter and every sin that we commit? Do we think that God’s grace is cheap? We can sin, ask Him to forgive us, and keep sinning? With that kind of attitude, how are we salt and light?

Does she have any idea of the pain she has inflicted on us? When a child dies physically the parents feel the loss keenly and the neighbours rally around for support. When a child rejects her parents’ teachings and values, the loss is even more painful. It’s a slap in the face by the protégé you thought was going to become someone important. That heart surgeon. That individual to take over the business in the next generation. Where do we turn? What did we do wrong? How did we fail? Which conversation was the door that I did not go through to discuss values and to be her guide?

I am a Christian. I want the love of God to flow through my life. How can I get violent about this? Christ, my master, was slapped, tortured, and killed for my sake. All his friends ran away. Yet he loved them. He forgave them. Can I forgive him? Them? I must! I don’t like it but I must! Jesus said that if we don’t forgive others their transgressions, he cannot forgive us ours. I am not perfect. I need God’s forgiveness in my life. I need his healing balm in the worst way right now. So I must learn to forgive whether I like it or not.

Oh, God! When is it enough suffering already? Our 2 boys died 30 years ago. We have a son with FAS and a drug problem. 2 daughters with SCIDS. One with leukemia. And now one with an unsaved boyfriend. When is it enough suffering already?

Pray for Alayna, that she might want to walk in the center of God’s will for her life. Pray for Joel, that he will recognize that he is a sinner, and only through Christ and his salvation, can he have eternal life. Pray that he might learn to love God. Pray for Karalee, that she too might walk in the center of God’s will, and that a God honoring man may come into her life in due time. Pray for Renee, that her good health and love for God may continue and that a God honoring man may come into her life in due time. Pray for Justin, that he would be willing to get the help we so anxiously wish to give. Pray for their parents, that we might be the God honoring parents these wonderful young people deserve.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name on earth. We ask that through us your kingdom might increase in this world, in spite of the difficulties we face. Thank you for providing us with an abundance of good tings, and we pray for those who have less that they too might get enough food for this day. Forgive us our sins and transgressions against you and help us to forgive those who have hurt us. Help us to respond in kindness to those who hurt us. Keep us from falling for the temptations of this world that seek to destroy us. Keep us safe from the evil one. Help us to recognize and avoid his evil plans to destroy us. For we know that You have the Power to build Your Kingdom in us. Your Glory exceeds all our pain. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.

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