Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Ready to Party?

May 1995

When is the Party?

As most of my readers know, I was a teacher for many years. I eventually turned in the red pen used for grading and picked up the black one used for writing. 


I loved teaching. I loved working with children in the elementary school setting. I have remained close to many of those kiddos through the years. I’ve attended a few graduations and weddings. I’ve watched as they have grown into incredible men and women. This is one such story.


In 1994, I received my class roster for the upcoming school year. It was my practice to complete a home visit with each of my students before the first semester started. I would call ahead and arrange a time to visit the student as well as meet the parents and siblings. Often the child would show me his or her room or introduce me to a beloved pet. One student asked me to climb up in the tree house he and his dad built together. I must admit that was a first, but because I loved to climb trees as a child, I obliged.


Then there was Adam.


Adam was a special case. When I visited his home, he had just been diagnosed with cancer. Adam had an inoperable tumor in his brain. I met his mother and older sister that day. We talked about school. He told me they were going on a Disney vacation. He showed me his backyard. 


It was a tough time for the family. I could see the pain in his mother’s eyes. I was determined when I left Adam’s house to make sure the school experience offered a haven of normalcy in all of their lives. And I prayed. 


I have what I call my alphabet prayer. Whenever I tell someone I will pray for them, I file their name under that letter of the alphabet. It isn’t a physical file, mind you. It is one I carry around in my head. Every day, I pray through that list. Sometimes people drop off of the list as their prayers are answered. Sometimes the prayers change. And usually the prayers start with praise. 


(As an aside, I often pray the alphabet prayer at night. I joke that people whose names start at the beginning of the alphabet are the lucky ones, because I sometimes fall asleep around the M’s and N’s. I do try to make up for it though.)


Since starting in the summer of 1994 I have prayed daily for Adam. My prayer was…is… simple. “I praise you, God for the healing of Adam Gellenbeck.”


Adam was a candidate for a new technique to treat the tumor growing deep in his brain. As I understand the procedure, the surgeons used a radiation treatment to implode the growth on itself. This would stop the cancer.


In May of 1995, Adam stood in front of our class for “sharing time.” Some people call it “show and tell.” My rules for sharing were simple. 1) You must use at least three complete sentences and 2) After you share, you may answer three questions from the audience. There were rules for the audience as well. They had to ask a question instead of offering a comment and the question could not be answered with a simple a yes or no.


That day, Adam stood bravely in front of our class.


“I’m going to California,” he said. “They’re going to put something in my brain. I might die. If I die, I won't come back. But if I don’t die, I’ll come back for my birthday party at my grandma’s. You can come. Any questions?”


Hands flew up. I will never forget the first question. “When is the party?”


There was so much faith and hope in that question. It was filled with the assurance that Adam would return. And he did. We all gathered at his grandmother’s pool that summer for the best birthday party ever.


I have not waivered in my prayers and praises for Adam. I prayed him through his elementary and high school years. I prayed him through college. I prayed over him when as an architect he joined up with Back2Back ministries and began designing and building housing and schools for special needs children in Mexico. I prayed for him as he married a beautiful woman named Bere. I watched the wedding video on my computer and again praised God for the healing of Adam Gellenbeck. 


A few weeks ago, Adam contacted me. He and his bride were going to be in Ohio. There was to be a reception for them at Adam’s home church. He wanted to know if I could come. My answer? Absolutely.


Yep, that's me with Adam and his bride, Bere.

I told my family about it. 


“When’s the party?” they asked.


I had to smile. That question is still loaded with faith and hope and anticipation. 

The alphabet prayer continues. “A” for Adam and “B” for Bere, his bride. 

“I praise you God for the healing of Adam Gellenbeck. And I praise you for Bere, his bride.”

P.S. I hope to visit this sweet couple in Mexico in the future. Came close to it once several years ago, but that is another story. you can find it HERE.




  1. God hears our prayers and is merciful!! An amazing story!

  2. These are wonders from God: children, healing, Hope & prayer. Thanks for sharing this blessing!

    1. Chris, Thank you for reading, the comment, and support. I am so glad I got to see you!

  3. An amazing and beautiful story. God is merciful. So special the love you had/have for your students.

    1. Thank you for stopping by! And thank you for such sweet words of support.

  4. Adam is my nephew and I knew this story but not the way you told it. How lucky he is to have you in his life. I have tears streaming down my cheeks. Thank you for sharing your story and I hope you get to Mexico where it’s always a party!❤️

    1. Oh, thank you! Adam is a good man. I certainly hope to get to Mexico. I'm glad you read it and I so appreciate you took the time to comment.


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