Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Hard Goodbyes

At one point in my life good byes meant nothing to me. I had to say to many of them in my young life and I just stopped feeling. It was an out of sight out of mind survival instinct. Then God did something amazing. He made me feel again. Over the past month I've said many good byes. Some easier than others but none of them have been with out emotion. I've cried more than I'd like to say. Tomorrow begins the last round of goodbyes. The really hard ones. The people I've come to love as family. Just thinking about tomorrow night and Friday morning makes my eyes water. I don't know how I did it once, as much as I hate doing this I'd never want to go back to being that empty person.
The funny thing is all these good byes are just temporary. I've taken time today to prepare myself for these goodbyes. I've written notes and cried and prayed for these people but I know that I will see them again. I know for many it will be just a few short months before we embrace at the airport, this time in greeting instead of parting. For others I'm not sure when that will be again but I know that the days, months or years that pass will be only a small fraction of the eternity that we'll spend together.
And yet I can't keep myself from crying.

Monday, December 15, 2008

a promise that speaks volumes

This morning I was reading in Mark 10 and I was struck by the promise he speaks to his disciples.
29I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.

Over the last few months I've struggled with the lack of a home, friends and family. The last few years have been a world wind adventure that brought me far from my family and into a land where I'm alone like I've never been before. Up until the last few weeks this was crippling until God started to speak. He challenged me to set my eyes on him and to begin to live this life as if Heaven was a reality. If Heaven is real and as great as we say it is than everything in this world is simple a shadow of it. Homes, family, friends the all are just a fraction of its glory. He challenged me to not look at the lack of a home but to instead see the abundance of homes he has given me as well as the family and friends that come with those things.
This morning I was walking through this city and struggling with my little remaining time here. As I'm looking straight into the face of some of the hardest goodbyes from the last months I needed something from God. He gave me this verse to remind me.
This place has become a home and there are family and friends that I'm not excited about leaving but I know that part of the joy of this missionary life that I now get to live is that I have an abundance of all these things and one day I'll have Heaven where all of these places come together.
The love comes with the suffering in this life but in the next there is just joy.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Do you know what today is boys and girls?

Today is a very special day here in the CZ it is Mikuláš day or as you may know him Saint Nick. I love today. It is like a mixture of Halloween and Christmas. There are parades and candy as well as angles and demons. It marks the beginning of the Christmas season here.
As I was watching the news I saw a Mikulas in a hospital handing out gifts to children and a big check to the hospital. This brought back memories of watching news footage of Santa doing the same thing in the US. I was shocked at how similar the two events were and at once it felt like home yet extremely foreign.
I got to participate in the events by receiving some chocolate and partaking in some delicious apple dumplings. Dad this is for you. I love Christmas time!

Check this out for more fun:

Photo from the Orco Foundation