Sunday, July 31, 2016

Saying Goodbye and Saying Hello

"It's good to cry."  I'm not sure how much I really understood that statement.  Crying means that something hurts, and tears are a product of pain.  So why would it be good to cry?

Leaving Pennsylvania on July 26th was probably one of the emotionally hardest things I've ever done.  Don't get me wrong - the first time was hard, too.  But this time was different.

I cried all the way to Boston.

The poor lady on the plane next to me didn't know what to do.  She offered some napkins as tissues and even wrote me a note tucked into my journal for me to find later.  Yes, God provides.

As I sat by the window on my flight to Boston, I realized all that I was mourning.  I was (and maybe still am) mourning the loss of an incredible summer at home with family and friends who love me.  I had to say goodbye to church friends who make me laugh, to my adorable baby niece, and college friends who visited for a whole weekend.  I mourned the loss of blossoming friendships and potentially fruitful relationships.  I drank in the lush greenness on the way to the airport as we sang "It is Well."  And I thanked God for the sunset, balm for my soul.  Yes, God provides.

Goodbyes are easily the hardest thing about living on two different continents.

And I'm not sure how to put this into words, but crying really is good.  It means that this summer was meaningful and that time and people were enjoyed.  If there were no tears, then richness of relationship is lacking.  I'm thankful for those tears.  I'm grateful to God that I have family and friends to love, who are worth crying for.

So, it's been an eventful summer to say the least!  My time was filled with a celebratory wedding of distant friends whose friendship originated in Niger, days off in Michigan visiting an old college friend, and a trip to Texas to see my brother and former housemate in Niger.  I was able to speak at a couple churches and even babysit for my cousin and her 5 kids.  I watched my brothers play in the church softball league and held Ellie Jane for hours at a time.  My summer consisted of pool lounging, evening walks, coffee dates, porch swings, stunning sunsets, and rich conversations.  Yes, God provides.

And upon my return to Niger, I've felt a similar love and affection from the people here:  homemade muffins, ice and cold water already in the freezer, lunch from a friend, house cleaned, and bed made!  Yes, God provides!  I have kept myself busy unpacking and organizing my room and running errands to get the house back in order.  I've enjoyed the sweet conversations with friends reunited and new ones.

The last Friday of every month is SIM's Day of Prayer.  The missionaries on the "Harabonda" side of the river gather in the evening to worship and pray together.  This past Friday I was reminded that we serve a God who satisfies our needs.  I am excited to continue meditating on that truth:  the Lord satisfies our needs, the ones we can't quite articulate and the ones we don't even know yet.

Praise God for our Heavenly Father who knows us intimately, for Jesus Christ who loves us deeply, and for the Holy Spirit who guides, comforts, and speaks to us on a daily basis.  I am in awe of how God has answered your prayers for peace as I transition from one culture to another.  Thank you!

"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." -Isaiah 58:11