Tuesday, July 24, 2007
You say hello, you say goodbye
Life here is full of hello and goodbye, sometimes in dizzying succession. Above see the picture of the interns on their last night here, posing with our family in our yard at dusk. The evening before we had fun hosting an all-team sit-down chili and cornbread feast with candles and tables and cloths and specially designed place cards, a little touch of elegance and sense of family celebration. After dinner the kids and teachers presented a clever video goodbye, screenplay by our talented Bethany Ferguson as a take-off on Pirates of the Caribbean (if you’re having a hard time imagining this . . . Picture Luke as a long-haired Johnny Depp with eye shadow and ear ring and African accent . . . ). Then the interns presented their goodbye video, co-starring Myhre kids as well (this time with British accents) and our cow . . . (now you’re really curious, my hint is that the show was a take-off on a TV show called Creature Comforts). It was a fun evening of prayer and closure, and a ringing confirmation of how great this group has been for our ministries and for us personally. As our kids get older, the attention and investment of interns becomes even more significant in their lives. Before they even pulled out this morning we received two more very short term (less than 24 hours!) visitors, Canadian young guys who were touring the country and met us months ago, and came to see the work and be encouraged in their potential future as missionaries to Uganda. When they said at breakfast they’d have to leave today I saw Caleb’s face fall—it takes a toll on kids to have people coming through our home and family and life, but the balance is well worth it.
Thankfully the pain of goodbye to our interns has been balanced by the amazing woman at the top of this post: Pat is back! She’s been here for several weeks, but we just had to use this opportunity to post this great picture, snapped when she was painting “Paediatrics” on the front of the new ward just before the dedication. Pat has been one of the most stable features of our childrens’ lives, and we’re glad she had a refreshing Home Ministry Assignment (the new missionspeak for furlough) and has returned to serve. She’s coming over for dinner tonight, a touch of grace in a time of goodbyes and transitions.
We need prayer as leaders to bring meaningful reflection and closure for those who leave, to open our lives to those who come, to process the ripples of impact on changing dynamics of relationship and ministry as our group grows and shrinks (mostly grows!), to offer vision and direction as people move on from one year to the next. I’ve been reflecting on some of the Psalms of pilgrimage (in the 130’s and 40’s) and struck by the fact that pilgrimage is not just a state of being, it has a goal. I can certainly see the transience of life, but need prayer to see the goal that our pilgrimage approaches. Even if we never reach in this life, there is a difference between wandering and traveling. And since many of those to whom we say goodbye are pilgrims heading in the same direction, the hope of another hello encourages us onward.