Monday, October 13, 2014

Preparing to Say Goodbye

This evening's sunset. Just think - without the sunsets today we would have no sunrises tomorrow.

When I volunteered to teach at the island school four years ago, I didn't count on something.

Having to say goodbye. When I was younger, I hated change and I hated goodbyes. I have changed some since then, but they're still not my favorites. Why should a good thing come to an end?

Now, as the secondary school enters its third term and the days march toward the end of another year, our graduating class has reached the beginning of the end of their studies here. Today they started their final exams and by early November, they will have finished and will begin leaving the school.

Many of these graduates joined the school four years ago, as I was starting my second year of teaching and serving on the island. I have watched them grow and feel as if I have grown with them. They are no longer the small boys and girls of 2011 - they have become beautiful, handsome, smart and wise young men and women.

Because of the nature of the islands and how far away the students' homes are, it is unlikely I will see many of them again. I will have to rely on an occasional phone call to hear about how they are doing.

It is hard to let go. I didn't bargain for this as a teacher, a mentor, and as a friend.

Separation has been a hard lesson for me while here in Uganda. But lessons are for learning and God has taught me that this world is truly not my home, and He is preparing a much better place for His dear children.

That special place, better known as Heaven, will be a place free of separation. No more goodbyes, farewells, or "see you laters." Sometimes my heart aches for that time and that place. And, with the more goodbyes I have to say the ache seems to deepen.

In the meantime, part of my heart goes with each of these amazing students. I wish I had more time with them, but I am thankful for the time God gave me, and I hope that someday we will have all of the time, not in the world, but in eternity.

Would you join me in praying for these young men and women as they do their exams? I really want God's grace, courage and peace to be upon them. Thank you.

Some of the amazing young people I get to work with! Back row, from left: Zaitun, Suzan, Celestine, Benjamin, Michael, Dick; front row, Petra, Scovia, Derick and Joshua. (I usually tell them to smile, so am not sure why they are so serious here.) Celestine, Benjamin, Petra, Derick and Joshua are among this year's "graduates."


  1. That is so hard to say good-bye! It is definitely one of my least favorite things to do, especially lately. I know that these students are going to miss you as much as you miss them!

    1. You are so right, Lauren - goodbyes are hard. I know you, too, have an especially hard one lately with Mikaela marrying and moving across the country. I am thankful God's grace is deep enough to carry us through those hard times! And what a testament to your sisterly love for one another - when you miss deeply, it means you love deeply.

  2. The last two years have brought many heart-wrenching goodbyes for me too! Thanks for reminding me to keep a heavenly perspective.

  3. Mikaela, my heart goes out to you for the many goodbyes you have had to say in the last couple of years. When my heart aches at yet another goodbye, I try to reflect on the blessings of that particular friendship, and thank God for putting that person in my life, if only for a season. May He grant you His special grace in those hard times!