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Rev. 21-Jul-2009 12:03:58

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Mr. Jacober and Karen Millar in white.
(Friday 15-Jun-2001)

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Karen Millar in white.
(Friday 15-Jun-2001)

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(Friday 15-Jun-2001)

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Todd Kausen and Krista Vanillo.
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Isabella Vanillo, Krista's daughter.
(Friday 15-Jun-2001)


Greg, it was good to read your memories of Mr. Amble (even though I'm almost 40 I still can't bring myself to call him by his first name), better than Chicken Soup for the soul, because we were there and we experienced it first hand. Thanks for sharing your heart. I considered it a privilege to be one of your closest friends when we were at College Park, but I never realized you had so much to overcome to gain your self-confidence. I saw the way Rita treated you and Andy, but never realized she affected your soul that much. You were a rock and companion for me in those days. How many other "fat mexican" kids lived in the neigborhood?

Even though we have kept in touch, I never realized how similar our inner lives were (as I said, you were always the confident one). The influence of Mr. Amble and Mr. Beaton spurred me to excel in college and grad school. But what I feel best about is being able to gain the self-confidence to love kids unconditionally like Mr. Amble did. To be honest, kids scared me and youth ministry was the last area of ministry I ever thought I would enter. But nothing I've done has been more rewarding. On my bulletin board here in my office are countless pictures of all kinds of kids (many of the kinds of kids I was scared of in school) who send me their pictures at times like graduation. They have gone on to excel in college and careers like teaching and engineering. They tell me that I have been one of the greatest influences in their life. I've performed their weddings and baptized their children. The week after our reunion is scheduled I'm going to be in the wedding party of kid I've discipled since he was in 8th grade. He just graduated from college and is planning on being a church planter. He knows how much it would mean to me to be in his wedding, since I'm always the one doing them, and has asked me to stand up for him. It is these relationships that I treasure and have made my life worthwhile. Even more so, I enjoy watching my own daughter grow in self-confidence and love for Christ that I did not enjoy until much later in life, because God was able to break negative life cycles in my life.

Now I am excited and nervous, because we are in the process of moving to Wyoming, Michigan to attempt my life long dream of starting a church. My hope is that it will be a church where people of all races can grow together and can come to seek Jesus from wherever they are at without fear of being put down or snubbed by "churchy type people," a place where people can be open and real and can find real faith in Jesus without all the layers of cultural and traditional church baggage that people confuse with really being followers of Jesus.

Sharing how much we have been influenced by this one awesome man is wonderful. I am proud to know Steve Carlson and what he has accomplished in Europe on the internet. I am proud to know a man like Greg Sabala who has overcome adversity. I am glad that I can still count Duncan Millar as a friend. I am curious and nervous of attending the reunion this summer. I don't miss those feelings of insecurity I felt in those days. I like to think I'm different enough today that I wouldn't let the old insecurities get to me, but I'm only human and I wonder. I had a blast at my wife's twenty year reunion, what if my own isn't as fun? Anyways, I am glad to share some with some of my fifth grade classmates via the safe method of the internet, where people can just hit the delete button if they're not interested. I'd enjoy hearing the life joys and struggles of others, since I'll miss getting to Mr. Amble's retirment party. I assume this is the event you were talking about, Greg, and that you weren't tallking about a separate fifth grade reunion in July.

Thanks Greg, Steve, and Charles for sharing, and thanks Linda for making the means available.

With Affection,

Roberto Jara
(5th Grade class, 1973-1974)

Previous: Mr. Amble's Retirement Party (15-Jun-2001) Part 4Next: Mr. Amble's Retirement Party (15-Jun-2001) Part 6