Today officially marks the end of our first Trimester here at ILE. Wow, it really did go by fast! Today was graduation day for everyone who is finishing their time here. What a lot of conflicting emotions!
On the one hand, it's great to see people finishing out their training and be better equipped to go where God is sending them. On the other hand, we have grown close with some of these people over our time here. And it's just hard. Goodbyes aren't easy, and there is something very strange about saying a permeate goodbye to people that you know you really will probably never see this side of heaven again.
It really hit home as we were talking with a mom of one of Forrest's classmates. They are getting on a plane tomorrow headed for Caracas, Venezuela. They are from British Columbia. I don't know them well at all, more like we've talked a few times here and there, but I cried on the way home, because, well, I guess I cried over what could have been. Our paths probably won't cross again on this planet.
And then there was our friends the Hings. We've done a lot with them, they were in class with me, and they are now on their way to Ecuador. They are from the Lapeer area, so there is a chance we could see them again, if furloughs and whatnot line up, but they too are getting on a plane tomorrow and heading to South America.
There is also the Vosses. !Dios les bendiga! They helped us get settled here in Costa Rica, they live just 5 blocks from us, and have been good friends over these last few months. They are heading to Honduras next week to join a church in Tegucigalpa. We are hopeful that at some point we will be able to see them again, as we will be in the same country. But it's hard. It's hard saying goodbye.
And yet...and yet! As we sat there and watched missionaries coming in carrying flags representing thirteen countries, I was in awe. God has taken people from all over the world, birthed in them a love and compassion for a people that isn't their own. They have devoted time, money, energy to learn a language that is not their own, in order to share the saving news of Jesus with people they don't yet know. Wow!! That sort of love can only come from Christ. And to hear them talk yesterday about what's next for them all, well, the words servant, learner, observer came up a lot. These are humble people that want to serve the Latin Church, not dictate what it should do. How very exciting!
About a month and half ago, we had Spiritual Emphasis week. At one point during the week, the worship leader said "now sing in your language." And almost every one of the students choose to sing in Spanish. Our language. What a group of people to be surrounded by.
In a lot of ways, this was a hard morning. But it was a morning of perspective, focused on The Eternal.
Y vaya con Dios, nuestros amgios!