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grief

photo: freedigitalphotos.net/arztsamui      graphic: Martha G. Brady

In mid-May 1977, we got on a plane in Mandeville, Jamaica and flew to Miami, FL. We now had 3 children, the youngest only 6 weeks old! The furniture we planned to keep along with boxes of our things had been sent ahead about a week earlier in one container with Jeff and Miriam Imbach’s things. There is a funny story…at least it is funny now, that happened because of that, but I probably won’t tell it here unless I really run short of words.

In mid-May 1977, we got on a plane in Mandeville, Jamaica and flew to Miami, FL. We now had 3 children, the youngest only 6 weeks old! Click To Tweet

Believe me, we didn’t have much left. Most of it was sold. We had mostly books. In fact, we may have mailed most of them. The book rate was incredibly cheap! Other household items were in the container with furniture. We had NO idea what we were going to be doing next. We only knew it wouldn’t be in Jamaica.

After the election in December, we knew we weren’t going to be coming back to Jamaica. Work permits weren’t going to be renewed. They told us we could finish out the school year without them, so we did!

We had housing lined up in St. Petersburg while we thought and prayed about the next steps. It was for a year. I was sure we wouldn’t need. But more on that tomorrow!

Saying good-bye was not easy…to faculty, staff, helpers, students and friends.

Those last weeks in Jamaica were difficult. It didn’t help that I was hormonal from a new baby! One more class graduated and we said good-bye to them. We were also saying good-bye to different faculty members. Some left a little before the school year ended. Others left about the time we did. It was gut wrenching! We also were saying good-bye to staff at the Bible College who had worked there during our 7 years.

Those last weeks in Jamaica were difficult. It didn't help that I was hormonal from a new baby! Click To Tweet

We said good-bye to Brenda, the lady who had worked for us in our home for 2 or 3 days a week while we lived there…cleaning, cooking, caring for our girls. She had been a huge help to us. We had watched her marry while we lived there. There was little likelihood that we would see most of these people again!

Then, we had a group of friends in Kingston that we met with one Sunday with Jeff and Miriam. We said good-bye to them as well. We had watched many of them become believers and grow in Christ. Jeff and Miriam had been very close friends. They were going to move back to Canada. There was little hope we would ever see them again this side of heaven.

As it turned out, we did see them once or twice again before Miriam passed away. But we never have seen the girls again.

A taste of missionary life: lots of good-byes to close friends…

That gives you a taste of missionary life! There is never a time when you  get to see all the people again in the same setting once you leave. It gives you a great appreciation for heaven, but it is sad to say good-bye. We know we truly may never see each other again on earth.

That part of it is not easy. You share a large part of your lives for a few years and then you are gone.

You come to love a place. It becomes your home. You love the people, the food, the plants, and images. The colors and smells. The sounds and beats. Sometimes there are things you don’t always know you miss until you get back to the U.S. and you notice something is missing. It takes awhile to figure out what is gone.

You come to love a place. It becomes your home. You love the people, the food, the plants, and images. Click To Tweet

Challenge: Remember your good-byes. How do you deal with them?

Can you trust GOD with your future? Allow yourself to grieve this loss. It is big!

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