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Saturday, November 10, 2007

More Goodbyes

This morning the Gray family pulled out, three kids, 9 trunks each weighing exactly 50 pounds, strollers, car seats, shoes and juice cups, the fruit of two weeks of careful sorting and packing. It seems like we had just stood in the driveway waiting to welcome them back from their unexpected four-year detour through Grant’s surgeries and therapies (though it is well over a year ago now). That welcome day was one of dancing and rejoicing, songs and delight. . . And the expectation that now they had made it through their difficult trials and were ready to invest in building a life as a family in Bundibugyo. Instead today we stood in the same spot, with tearful hugs, sending them back to uncertain plans and possibly the end of their African journey.

This departure was unanticipated and abrupt, but Pat managed to help them pull together a major feast of goodbye. Yesterday afternoon 350 guests, friends from 18 years of ministry, gathered for a few speeches, thanks, laying on hands and prayer, and then a meal. Pictured above you’ll see Grant in front of the massive pot used to cook the pilau (rice and meat); the Gray family being prayed for; and Julia with Chase wearing the hat she crocheted him for Christmas (which is bittersweet, because measuring for the hat project was instrumental in our realization that his head was not growing normally . . . ). Pray for them, for Chase to be healed, to grow and develop and talk and walk in ways that bring God glory. Pray that the Grays would experience Jesus more fully in the way of the cross, the path of suffering. Pray that we would too, because we are suffering as well, losing our neighbors, team mates, friends, maybe for the foreseeable future. Pray most of all for their Ugandan friends, who are not used to goodbyes, to moves, who don’t have email and international travel to keep in touch with distant friends. Pray that we would all sense the comfort of God’s presence.


Cheryl said...

We have been in prayer for all of you. We are so sorry for this unexpected transition and heartbreak for the Grays and for your team.

Debbie said...

Thanks Jennifer for this post. It brings tears to my eyes, but we are so thankful for the family they have in Bundi. I know it is hard on them to have to leave so many. How wonderful to have such a great "send-off", for them! The pictures are so special :) I can't stop kissing Chase since he's been state-side. ~ Debbie (Rick's sister)