Russell and Duenes

Feeling Nostalgic – Tens Years at Redwood Christian – 2005-06

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Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, But trust Him for His grace, Behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face. – William Cowper

If ’04-05 was one of my hardest years, ’05-06 was one of my most enjoyable. God’s grace came to me in a fresh way, and the joys of this school year still come to me. Without a doubt, I stay in touch with more seniors from this class than any other: Bill Magee, Josh House, Terrence (Whitey) Dalton, Kevin Parr, Jessica (Tounger) Parr, Ariel Malliaris, Andrew Bicker, and Mike Mortara come to mind. Some of these seniors were on my first softball team back in 2001 (Bill Magee, Mike Mortara, Anthony Zasimovich, and Andrew Bicker) and I’ve had the privilege of being at a few of their weddings (Kevin and Jessica Parr, Ariel (Malliaris) Petushkov, and Andrew Bicker.

This was the year I made the switch from Student Council Advisor to Class Council Advisor for the Class of 2009. I would remain their advisor for the next four years. The freshman class also had its cast of characters. There was Kal Holmlund who played softball for me and spent a lot of time hanging out with me and Mr. Russell over the years. Kent Ha always wore an ensemble of matching clothes and ran a lot of smack about the Giants. He could shoot a good three-ball though. Billy Stratman is still likely the funniest student I’ve ever had. Adrianna Martinez came in as a class leader and went out the same. And who could forget Patricia (“Mildred”) Bocson. I spent four years with this class, and have to say that they grew on me in the end.

I also got engaged in April of this school year to my lovely, beautiful, and wonderful wife. What seems beyond belief is that now, a mere five years later, we are not only married but have three boys. This is a blessing beyond words. I remember a good friend of mine, David Kelley, saying to me during the darkest time of 2004, “This is not the end of the story.” Indeed it was not. Our God brings redemption out of circumstances that we cannot even imagine. I deserve none of it, but the Lord our God is good; His steadfast love endures forever.

These words from the Proverbs struck me as I thought about the contrast between the ’05 and ’06 school years:

Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down?
      Who holds the wind in his fists?
   Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak?
      Who has created the whole wide world?
   What is his name—and his son’s name?
      Tell me if you know! Every word of God proves true.
      He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.

Know one knows all the ways of God, or why He does all that He does. “The secret things belong to the Lord.” I needed a year like ’05-06. It wasn’t a perfect year, but none are. Yet is was a life-giving year. I received a lot of support from family and friends, and I was able to get my legs back under me, so to speak. I remember being at Kevin and Jessica Parr’s wedding last August and seeing a lot of students from the Class of 2006. What joy filled my heart. What laughter I shared with some of them. What a glorious reminder of God’s redeeming, tenacious love.

Father God, I thank you for the joy and refreshment you brought me during the 2005-06 school year. I pray that you will continue to remind me each day that you are a God whose steadfast love never ceases, whose mercies never come to an end. May you continue to prosper the students I had this year. May your word be their meditation, yea, their life. May they worship you and give you the honor your deserve, Lord Jesus. Magnify yourself in them, and bring fruit, thirty, sixty, one hundred fold from their lives. In Christ’s name. Amen.


Written by Michael Duenes

May 30, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Posted in Duenes, Nostalgia

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