Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Saying Goodbye

One of the occupational hazards of being an expat is that people are always leaving. My first year in Singapore, I started to get to know a great girl named Wendy (no, not Wendy Wilson). I thought, "Hey, here's my new best friend! This is great!" only to have her say, "Oh, and we're leaving in April." So I had to start over.

Over the years we've said goodbye to way too many terrific people - Hausmans, Monsivaizs, Whites, Cochrums, Wallaces, Boeckers, Longs, Nobles, and the list goes on. Each of those names brings tears to my eyes. We did life with these people. We traveled with them, worked with them, had great fellowship through church and Bible study with them, we played with them. They have been what made Singapore great.

Next week when we board a plane to Minnesota, we'll be saying goodbye to two more families: the Wilsons and the Buttons. I first met Wendy in the fall of 2004 when we came here. I met her again when we joined the smal group at the Monsivaizs. I was thrilled to meet someone in Singapore who was homeschooling. In fact, those first few years, if she hadn't been my homeschool friend, who knows if I would have kept at it? Having another family we could play with and another mom I could talk to about how it was going made all the difference. Wendy has a real servant's heart and she has blessed me in countless ways - in particular by being an authentic person who shares her life freely with me.

I met Lindsey when she joined our study about a year later. My first impression was, "Wow, I like this girl. She's really fun!" Lindsey always has an encouraging word for me. She's the one who convinced me I could run a half marathon in August. Honestly, I never would have considered it without her saying I could! Lindsey's another great woman of God who is transparent with her life in a way that invites others in.

Last spring Wendy, Lindsey, and I, along with our friends Fiona and Jamie, had a Wednesday morning Bible study. It was one of the best things I've done in Singapore and now that they're leaving I consider that time precious. Last night we had our official farewell to both couples with lots of good food, some photo montage videos, and prayer. We all tried our best not to cry - I think once someone started we would have all lost it. This is the part of being an expat I hate, but thinking back on all the great times with these families, the pain of this time is worth it for the blessing I've experienced!

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