Editor’s note: In celebration of Father’s Day, Missioner Misty Menis-Kyler shares a letter she wrote to her dad and reflects on how, in his life and his faith, he is an amazing role model for her.

Dear Dad,

I have written and re-written this letter so many times, but I just could not find the right words. How do I sum up 20 years of the most amazing life a girl can have?

I want to thank you for all your lessons. I learned how to fish, hunt, play softball, basketball, change a tire, and to build and fix things. You always encouraged me to be a better person and to reach for the stars. You never once gave up on me and never failed to show or tell me just how proud of me you were and how much you loved me. You never complained, and I grew up watching how hard you worked. You taught me so much, and I have so much still to learn from you.

Sitting on your lap as a little girl was my favorite place to be. I loved feeling the scratchy scruff on your cheeks when I would kiss you goodnight. I remember the first time I placed my small, delicate hand in your big, strong, callused hand and I had the feeling of being completely safe for the first time in my four years of life. Before you, I did not know a father was supposed to be there for his family. I didn’t know the joys of being picked up and held so tenderly and close, to feel the beating heart of someone who loved me so much that the fear of losing me could cause him nightmares. I know that a lot of girls call their dad their superhero, but not many have to actually be rescued.

I thank God every day that He brought us together. I thank God every day that you told mom to call the adoption agency again when it seemed like all hope was lost. I thank God every day that you are now the one I can call my “forever dad.” I pray to God every day that I can have the same strength and courage you have, the same loving heart, the same gentle and protecting hands that you have, so that I can help others like you have helped me.

I want to tell you that your love of mom has been a role model for me. It has shown me how I want someone to look at me and love me one day. You were the first man I ever loved and I remember saying how, when I was older, I wanted to marry you. Now that I am “older,” I can tell you that you are still the first man I have ever loved, but I understand that you are taken. Mom is so lucky.

I am the woman I am today because you helped to shape me. I am here doing God’s work in Guatemala because you made sure I never forgot the other Father I have.You made sure God was first, mom and I were second, always putting yourself last.

These are simply words, and even these words cannot express my gratitude and love for you and all you have done. I can only hope they help to show how much you mean to me. I love you with all my heart! Have a Blessed Father’s Day, Dad!

Love forever from your little bright eyes,
Misty Dawn Francis Menis-Kyler

Reflection Question: How have you been blessed by fathers and father-figures in your life? Take some time today to write or tell them how much they mean to you.