When it was time to move to Kapsowar many goodbyes were inevitable. It was hard to say the least. But coming to Kapsowar has given us the opportunity to say many "hellos". This hospital draws people from all over the world. We've been blessed to have met people from Canada, Australia, China and all over Europe. It's great geography lessons for the kids as well as a chance to learn things from many different cultures. We cherish the time we have to serve with them and then release them to follow the Lord's call upon their lives. What a blessing to be a part of their journey.
Recently we said "hello" to the Crawfords. These are our dear friends from our In His Image family, where Kyle did his Family Medicine training. Kyle had a blast serving alongside Kris.
And I was refreshed spending time with Nicole and their son. We spent many late nights playing games and just having a fun time. We prayed together and laughed together and had the sweetest of fellowship with them. They even blessed us with a date night and watched our kids as well as cooked us dinner. We are so thankful for their visit and hard work while they were here.
When we left Oklahoma we said goodbye to many aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents. When we arrived here we said "hello" to Christina. Christina quickly became Auntie Nina.
She has loved our kids despite their flaws and rejoiced with us in every triumph. She has recently hosted 2 baby showers for Ariella. The first was organized by my sweet friend Amanda and Nicole. I was touched that so many people are celebrating with us even though they are half a world away.
The 2nd shower was instigated by Christina and Kelly. This one was special because we had Kyle's sister Kelly there and our SP friends Mary Elizabeth and Gail in attendance. Along with them there were my Kenyan friends. This was the first baby shower that they had ever attended. I think they were quite curious what a shower for a baby would look like without the presence of water or a bath tub. It ended with them singing a sweet song of praise to the Lord for the blessing of life. How blessed we are to have Auntie Nina. On Friday we say "goodbye" as her first term ends. We are thankful for such a sweet time that we have had with her, but will miss her dearly.
Our next "hello" was to the Shoop family! The boys were counting down the days for forever. We couldn't wait for their arrival. Joey came and jumped in right away taking his dentistry skills to the Pokot people the morning after he arrived.
He remained busy in the hospital the entire time he was here. Kelly and I caught up on everything we have missed in the last year and a half. We did some projects around the house and we enjoyed watching our kids be reunited and play constantly for 5 days. The Shoops blessed the hospital with their presence as well as some presents. We loved every minute of their visit.
But with every visit comes a "goodbye". They were scheduled to leave in the middle of the night. The kids said their tired goodbyes before they slept for a while. When they were packing up Hudson heard them and came running out to hug them quite tightly and say a tearful goodbye. These are the moments my heart aches for the sacrifice I know they are making. I laid in bed with him and we talked. I asked him what his favorite part about their visit was. He simply replied when we went hunting for chameleons with Jonah and Hannah. It wasn't the road trip to Nairobi, or the elephant orphanage or even the Safari game drive where we spotted lions. It was having his cousins walking in the everyday of his life. To have someone enjoying and sharing his life here in Kapsowar. Life here isn't glamorous. It's quite simple, but very beautiful. We live in the middle of nowhere. A place to enjoy God's creation and His handiwork. Honestly there are moments when I wonder if we are doing the right thing by leaving so many loved ones behind, but then I see my kids learning lessons of sacrifice and service for the Lord. I see them living their lives with grace and love and joy in a culture that longs for the Light of the World to shine forth on their lives. And I rest in that.
So now we are waiting to say "hello" to water for the Pokot people. The drilling has had some hang ups and is going rather slow. Keep praying for that.
We are waiting to say "hello" to the new surgical building at the hospital as so many have labored to bring this vision into reality.
We are waiting to say "hello" to baby Ariella. She is strong and healthy. We've made it to 32 weeks. We can't wait to meet her. What joy she'll bring to our little family.
Join us in prayer as we are waiting for the next "hellos".