Sometimes I feel like all life is made of is hellos and goodbyes and the moments in between. And sometimes the goodbye feelings… catch you by surprise. On the last day of missions class at Ecola, when I stepped up to my teacher to shake his hand and thank him, I was surprised to find myself suddenly choked up, with tears in my eyes. Thankfulness for what he had brought, who he was (strongly passionate about missions), and realizing this was the end of his classes, all combined into a stronger whirlpool of emotions then I had expected.
The same thing happened this Saturday, when I said goodbye to my German family. I double-checked I had everything from the room they’d given me, downloaded my ticket onto my tablet, and kissed their two girls, Ella and Glorie, goodbye. But when it came time to look at Anja and Janos, my hosts, “parents,” and friends for the last two weeks, I suddenly found my eyes filled with tears, my lips trembling. They prayed over me, blessing my travels, and then Janos and Glorie took me to the UBahn station. On the UBahn to Hamburg and even on the bus all the way to Hannover, my eyes kept blurring with tears as the parting touched my heart stronger than I’d expected.
It hurts to hold back tears.
Yet in some ways, I was encouraged by my blurred vision. In the last 4 years, I have built so many relationships, only to keep moving. With every connection, every touch felt and then gone, it is tempting and easier to let yourself dull, so the farewells don’t hurt as much. To keep a part of your heart detached from the moment you meet someone. To hold yourself back because you are anticipating the parting.
My tears comfort me that – this time at least – I have not hardened my heart, but let it open and share life. The Henches gave me a room, a phone, food, assistance – but more than that, they gave me a place in their family. I watched their patience and love for their kids and someday I want to have a heart for people like they do. With Anja we laughed several times so hard we cried, and enjoyed several days of sightseeing together, and with Janos we found our humor and tastes similar, so it was a joy to talk with him. I found an interest in football, I got to watch Ella take some of her first steps, and Glorie finally overcame her shyness enough to babble to me in German.

It is a wondrous mystery to me that, someday, goodbyes will be no more.

And sorry, I don’t have pictures of the family! When I take pictures I am blog minded, and it seems invasive and intrusive to their lives to put pictures of someone else on my blog. And I guess I still think about internet safety, however that would be unsafe I don’t know, but that’s what holds me back. BUT you can see what they put on the internet about their family and Calvary Church plant at http://www.hhench.de!
To the Henches:

How beautiful – the feet of those who respond “yes!” to Your call and step forth, sharing the Good News of the Kingdom!

All right, blow my nose, dry my eyes… I got emotional all over again writing this post! I’m such a female..
My friend and I are traveling to Kassel, Germany right now, to see the Grimm Brother museum, and castles.
And by the way, YEAH FOR DEUTSCHLAND!!
Neuer is my favorite. I call him “Captain Germany”.
Below are the rest of my pictures from beautiful Hamburg.
Adios!

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