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Facebook Helps Woman Find Lost Son

Since becoming an internet juggernaut, Facebook has taken some real hits from folks. That tends to happen when something takes off in popularity. But the next time you wonder if it's of any value at all, especially for the church, you might want to consider the story of Avril Grube—a story that teaches us that the social networking giant can be used for a lot more than just cute status updates and opportunities to become a "fan" of our favorite restaurant or preferred brand of coffee. Facebook can, in fact, be used to reconnect with someone you thought was lost for good.

When Avril Grube's marriage came to an end in 1982, she decided to remain in her hometown of Poole, Dorset (U.K.), while her husband returned to his native country of Hungary. The couple had one son, Gavin, of whom Avril was awarded sole custody. Avril's husband was only given visitation rights.

One day, while in town to visit his son, Avril's ex-husband asked to take Gavin to the local zoo. Avril agreed, and off the two went for a day of fun. As day turned into night, however, Avril became worried. She waited and waited for them to return, but they never did. She would soon learn that Gavin's father had taken the boy back to Hungary.

For years Avril and her sister searched for Gavin, going so far as to take up their case with former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the authorities at the Hungarian Embassy. But their efforts were fruitless. Over time, Avril slowly lost hope of ever seeing her son again.

But 27 years later—27 years—she found him.

In March of 2009, Avril's sister typed Gavin's name into an internet search engine and found his Facebook profile. Avril and her sister immediately started sending him messages. When Gavin didn't respond—they later learned he doesn't use the account with any real consistency—they started messaging his children, who also had Facebook accounts. Eventually, the two finally reconnected after so many years apart.

"She is absolutely on cloud nine," Avril's sister told a reporter for BBC. "They have been hugging—really, really happy."

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