Yesterday the community where I live was delivered a hard blow. The 17 year old son of a beloved family from my church went missing. He had been duck hunting on a local lake with a friend. The two apparently separated and when the friend came back, James' boat was empty but still running. No one knows what has happened to him. Searchers have been working around the clock since 2pm yesterday. Our church and community has rallied together to pray hard for this young man and his family.
My reason for this blog post is twofold. One, to reach out to others out there who will join us in praying for James. He is (I refuse to say "was") so loved within our church. He is only 17 but has already impacted so many lives. My own teenage daughters were impacted by him and left better for his presence in their lives.
My second reason for this post is simply for selfish reasons. I don't know James on a very personal level, but I know him through my girls and have talked to him several times on Wednesday nights at youth group. He is hard to miss. A very tall young man with a personality to match. I've never seen him with anything but a smile on his face and love in his heart for those around him. But, even though I don't know him personally, his disappearance has left a huge hole in me. I cannot think about him and his circumstances without tears coming. He epitomizes everything a young person should be.
His disappearance strikes us all hard. I listen to my daughters' heartbreaking cries, I see the devastation from others around us. It's as though our own mortality has risen up to slap us in the face.
But in the midst of the heartbreak is a grain of hope. I see our youth and families rallying around each other and the Eunice family. I see them on their faces before God crying out, asking for hope, knowing that God will provide it. I see encouragement and love. I have never (NEVER) seen a group of young people that love so genuinely. I'm proud of every single one of them and how they are handling this tragic event.
I'm asking anyone who reads this to pray for James Eunice and his family. Pray that, whatever the outcome, we can continue to see God's will and grace in this, that we continue to stay true to His word and never falter. I, as so many others do, believe that James is a child of God and He knows exactly where James is (thank you to Tim Allred for reminding us of this).
As a selfish human, it is my prayer that James is returned home, safe, to his family.
Until then, I am praying....