July 28, 2011

Hello. Goodbye.

I read something recently about one of the things that makes missionary kids unique--that every hello is attached to a goodbye. It may be a temporary "See you later," but more often it's the permanent version. It's realizing that the world you belong to is not a stationary, fixed place, and you are not permanently set in any one place. This past week we've had to play that game again, sadly.

The three missions interns I told you about before, finished their 10-week term and went back to college life at Lee University. While they were here, I was in the midst of full-time, everyday physical therapy. This opened the door for Camille and Caroline to step up to the plate, which they did. They made their momma proud. They were a bit nervous at first, but they fell in love with the three interns right off the bat and this helped a lot. My girls translated for the Saturday morning Bible classes the interns held for the community kids, for the three-times-a-week English classes, and for various other activities during their stay. Ken and I had the privilege to spend time with them in the evenings and on weekends, helping them process their experiences here and enjoying their perspectives. We shared a lot of meals together and took them along on some of our adventures. All three of these young ladies are majoring in intercultural studies at Lee, and they came here to live out what they'd been studying. They were also excellent examples of Godly young ladies, and it was absolutely thrilling to know that in these impressionable years, my girls had the chance to be influenced by these three. It was a sad thing to tell them goodbye. Of course we hope to see them again, but you know, you just don't ever know.

During the last two weeks of the interns' stay, a team of five young adults from Tennessee came for a week and a half. This coincided with the school system's winter break, so this team was also able to do lots of things with the children. (This group included the brother and sister of our neighbor Dana, who is here for 10 months to teach English in the school.) Again, my girls translated when needed and got to know this team. Their time included daily VBS and sports activities, as well as a major makeover to the playground and school assembly room. It was really funny to see them get all filthy in the paint, not really worrying about it, then realize that it was oil-based and wouldn't wash off.  :)  They were colorful for a week!  They played volleyball and basketball and soccer and field games with the kids, and Camille and Caroline picked up some new moves on the court. The team had a beautiful spirit of worship and shared their musical talents with us one night, in our living room. They grabbed up Ken's guitar and harmonized to lovely praise and worship songs we'd not heard yet, so we headed over to itunes to get a few. Caroline has a renewed interest in the guitar now.

I have some very definite ideas about short-term missions, which I plan to share on this blog soon. There are lots of ways that trips can go bad. But I can testify that these guys made a positive impact on the children of this community. I am sure that when they were preparing for and imagining their time in Paraguay, ministering to our family wasn't part of the plan. It's exactly what happened, though, and we thank God for blessing us through these two teams. (And for the internet, so goodbyes don't have to be permanent!)

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