No goodbyes, only see you laters.

I wake up from my hour of sleep, its 4:47, the sky is still dark but the birds are chirping. I walk out to go get ready and pass one of the kitchen staff saying “Buenos.” Instantly my heart was filled with joy and sadness because I won’t here that after this morning. I am slapped in the face with the realization today is the day I leave for my journey home, I should be happy but I’m not. I’ve been here 3 months and I’ve become a part of this family here at CICRIN. I thought I was ready to go home until this last week approached and here I am wishing I had more time.

As one little boy says “I am not excited for the fiesta, I’m sad. The fiesta means you (makes motion for flying away).” If my heart wasn’t already breaking he then says “Three months was like just a few days.” It was evident in that moment their hearts are breaking as much as ours are that we are going back to our home. They can’t understand why we have to leave and honestly in this moment I don’t either. I knew coming into this three months would fly, yet here I am wishing the three months could last just a few more days.

Fast forward. As the day lingers on, the hour of our departure slowly arrives. Most of my day was spent having conversation with Jimmy and trying to avoid the sadness that would come. We had laughs and we had moments when I was doing everything I could not to tear up. No matter how hard it was for everyone to admit, no one was ready to say goodbye. 2 o’clock came faster than I wanted it to, we took our group photo, packed the bus, and circled up. The kids prayed over us and started to say their goodbyes and I headed to knock on Jimmy’s door. I was in search of a purpose my first three weeks here and he helped me to find it, we became the best of friends and I wasn’t leaving without a goodbye. I promised I wouldn’t cry earlier in the day but he opened that door, stepped out and with the look in his eyes my tears started flowing. I went for goodbyes with the kids next but all I heard was “I love you, see you later.” The tears continued and it was then I realized I would be missed just as much as I will miss them.

I’ll miss the constant battle of sweating 24/7. I’ll miss afternoon walks to get Coke and Chiky’s (the best snack around). I’ll miss the stir fry rice. I’ll miss my random allergic reactions. I’ll miss washing clothes with my hands. I’ll miss the rancho where I spent most afternoons in a hammock. I’ll miss the kids giving random hugs. I’ll miss hearing “Hola!” everywhere I go. I’ll miss being called a gringo. I’ll miss hearing Jimmy yell “Lolli!” I’ll miss worship with my team. I’ll miss being in a church where my language isn’t spoken, yet God breaks every barrier to show me who he is. I’ll miss not having reliable water or power. I’ll miss showering in the lake. I’ll miss Buckwheat, Oreo, and Scooby (our pet dogs). I’ll miss worshiping with the kids as they sing in their language and me in mine proving just how great of a God I serve. I wish I could stay here and take in every moment just once more. My life is at home in the States, yet so much of me belongs here now. I’m not ready for good-byes so I’ll say see you later.

It’s in the moment like this that I trust in God. I trust he can guard my heart and the hearts of every person here at CICRIN. I know that I was here for a purpose. This season may be ending but who he created me to be is just beginning. My heart is full today. I am so glad he chose me to be the girl who got to show just a few more people who he is and how he loves. This experience has changed me and in the change I’ve grown in ways I never thought possible. My biggest lesson: don’t put God in a box, you’ll only end up with shredded cardboard. He can accomplish more than you could ever dream and I’m ready for this crazy thing called life with Christ. I pray he continues to take me deeper into a relationship with Him where my faith can grow. Just because this adventure is coming to a close, doesn’t mean he is done with me.

I leave this country and this place I’ve come to call home with one verse in mind: “My cup overflows with your blessings.” Psalm 23:5

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