Sometimes smiles are burned into the minds of Hillcrest faculty and staff. Sometimes, it isn't the smiles, but it's the hard conversations. A recent letter to a staff member highlights the latter.

A few weeks ago a staff member received the following letter. It's a sample of how the lessons students learn at Hillcrest tarry long after they leave the front steps and embark on adulthood.

Hello! How are you? It's been such a long time! Do you even remember me? haha, just kidding. I'm guessing you do. I was such a troublemaker.

I just wanted to share something with you. Right now I am in the Philippines. I'm living with 17 Chinese people, 5 Filipinos and 6 Norwegians, so naturally English is our common language. You probably forgot all about this, but once we had a meeting in the girls dorm and you and the staff talked about speaking English when we are in the common areas.

I remember afterwards I talked to you about it, and I said that it's really tiring for us to always speak English, because it is our second language. Then you said "Would you really rather be comfortable, and let others feel excluded? Or will you choose to be uncomfortable to include others, and make others feel better?"

THAT sentence has been ringing in my head the last few weeks. At the time, when you told me, I was a little bit annoyed, because I didn't think you "understood us". But now I've been realizing more and more that you, of course, were absolutely right! It was me who didn't understand.

I was being extremely selfish, and I didn't even realize until around two years later. Here, it's still hard to always speak English, especially when you know you have the option not to, but every time I feel like speaking Norwegian because "it's more comfortable", I remember what you said to me.

So I guess what I want to say is: thank you so much! Thank you for saying the hard things and not just the nice things and things we want to hear. God has been using that one sentence to change my heart, and I am certain He has and still is using other things you have said, both to me and others.

Remember, what you say and do - it matters! A lot more than you think. So keep speaking Gods truth! And again, thank you.

By the way, I miss your contagious smile and laughter!