I first met Mariel over 16 years ago through my wife’s responsibilities as the international coordinator at Saint Croix Lutheran High School. Mariel would occasionally visit and stay at our house during holiday breaks and during these times I had fun, interesting conversations with her about many topics (student life, religion, being the oldest child in the family, comparing cultures, etc.).
Her maturity, intelligence, honesty, sense of humor, measured approach, common sense and Christian concern for others soon won me over as I became her American dad. If there have been people or things that were a problem for her, she would discuss them calmly and rationally and would not make rash judgments or quick-tempered comments.
Any of her friends and acquaintances will tell you how she espouses family values, does not carry grudges, and loves children. She can be firm, but is gentle at the same time. She educates and disciplines through discussion – not rash physical action. She is the real deal.
What a pleasure it was to see Andy and Mariel’s friendship bud from romance to marriage and then to see them blossom into a team of loving, fun parents for their children!
As I reflect on Mariel’s experiences in the U.S.A. and the challenges that she has faced in such a gracious way, I see the Lord’s hand in her life and His Spirit reflected in her…this is not a person who would harm anyone.
Mariel and I still have great conversations and it is a joy to see how she humbly serves her Lord in so many ways.
It is with great pride and love that I entrust my grandchildren’s lives to her care.