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Joshua is 18

Today is a very special day. A very, VERY special day! Today is my nephew’s 18th birthday!

Baby Josh is now 18 years old, an adult. I suppose now that he is an adult, I should probably stop referring to him as Baby Josh.

We used to call him Baby Josh when he was a baby since his father’s name is also Josh. Eventually, as he grew older, we started referring to him as Little Josh. But now Little Josh is taller than Big Josh so that name doesn’t seem appropriate anymore. Now he is just Josh. Or, as I refer to him, Joshua. I figure since I am his aunt, I can call him by his true given name. Aunts tend to that sort of thing. My aunts always referred to me as Juliane, as did my mother, even though pretty much everyone else called me Julie.

I can’t believe the little baby that I used to carry while he slept in my arms is now taller and stronger than me. He is an adult who has his own thoughts, opinions, and ideas who drives his own vehicle, takes care of himself and has traveled the world.

On that last point, did I ever mention that Joshua spent his summer vacation in Africa? While other kids had summer jobs at local grocery stores or serving ice cream and hung out at the beach whenever they could, Joshua traveled by himself to Cameroon to help his Aunt Christy. She is a missionary there and she asked him to come spend time with her and help out.

Needless to say I was highly stressed during this time. For Baby Josh to travel by himself to Paris and then to Africa was just a scary proposition. I could think of all the things that could go wrong and/or all the bad things that could happen to him. But all I could do was pray for him, which I did, continually.

In the midst of being scared for him, I was also immensely proud. To think that he felt moved by the Spirit to raise the money and do all the work necessary to go on this mission trip made me wonder at the little boy who was now such a capable and caring man.

Joshua did have a wonderful time. He learned so much, had fascinating experiences and his horizons were expanded from his small town in Michigan to encompass the whole world. From reading his blog, I saw that, through this adventure, he learned about himself and others in ways that he never would have no matter how many books he read or how much he was taught in school.

Now my nephew is 18. He is well on his way to adulthood. Growing and learning and becoming the man that God intends for him to be.

Happy birthday, Joshua! I have told you before and I will tell you again, I have loved you from the first moment your mother told me that she was pregnant with you, I loved you even more the first time I held you in my arms and I have continued to love you as you grew up.

Be good, be strong, be faithful. And may God bless you in all that you do throughout your life.

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