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Monday, August 11, 2014

Oops, A Month Gone By!

At the Hangar, this month has been full of audits, meetings, creating and editing documents... and of course serving by flying lots!

Our pilot has been busy carrying the load of flying solo for the past month. Sadly, it was time to say good-bye to our interim pilot family as they returned to Holland. But in a few short weeks we will say Hello to a new family who will serve alongside us in Madagascar. As well, at the end of August we are looking forward to welcoming back our other Swiss Pilot--they have been on furlough since February. Faith is also very excited, since she has been missing her good friend who is part of their family.  :)

The past several weeks have felt like we've said a lot of goodbyes. Even though there really hasn't been that many. First our Dutch pilot family--we always knew their stint in Madagascar would be temporary, but I found myself super sad when the time came for them to leave. They really had become a part of our team here, and I wished they could have stayed. Then, good friends of ours (pictured on the left) had to leave and return to America due to health issues in the family. This was really sad. They have children close in age to ours, and we really bonded over the last year with them. Unfortunately, they probably won't be able to return to Madagascar, because the air quality here is so poor, and they are pretty certain their health issues were directly related. It was sobering to me when Faith went to say goodbye to their oldest son she said, "Bye Eli. See you in Heaven." She didn't sound sad or anything. To her, it was matter-of fact. (She was sad later, Eli & Zoey.) 

Anyways, it struck me that this was how my children might experience many of their close friendships here on the field. Temporary. Because of the language barrier, it is difficult for them to become close to local malagasy kids who are here to stay. So, our community remains to be amongst many western families who speak English. I'm thankful there are a lot! But, it is a little complicated, up and down, or inconsistent, with families leaving on furlough, or moving away permanently. I hear myself telling the children that we will see their friends 6 months from now, or even next year. Of course, this kind of time frame to a 4 year old is difficult to understand, but on the other hand, it can seem like a small lifetime to them! I pray that my kids won't become discouraged saying goodbye regularly. And that they wouldn't be afraid to grow close to others, to risk their hearts--in a healthy way. 

For Rob and I, we are recognizing that we cannot become unwilling to grow in friendship with others simply because we don't know how long that friendship can last in this transient missionary community. Isn't that selfish? Being friends with people isn't all about what we can gain from them. It's really about giving. Look at Jesus and how he interacted in relationships knowing that His time on earth was a mere 33 years. Yet it didn't stop him from investing in others, and growing close to others, even investing in those who would eventually deny knowing him! Are we willing to live with these risks as we make relationships?

A couple pictures  :)