“After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11
Mission team members that have been to Haiti, seeing children, sharing their medical skills with people of all ages, photographers who have captured images and people like me who have shook their hands, hugged them, patted their heads, laughed with them, prayed with them and experienced their joy and suffering; we all share the same sorrow when it is time to leave and board the airplane and leave for North America. Being separated from their smiles is hard; their faces in photographs bring comfort when memories of that short term relationship come to mind. There are photographs on the walls in my home and my computer is filled with many faces. Do you have special things that you hold on to, cherishing the memories? The attached photo is a nameless memory for me. Somebody’s mother, wife, sister and perhaps a grandmother from Port-au-Prince. This is a memorable ‘goodbye’ photo, a woman at the airport with a handkerchief to wipe the tears as new friends leave.
There is a Michael W. Smith song that puts these feelings into words. “Tell me when the time we had slipped away; tomorrow turned to yesterday and I don’t know how. Tell me what can stop this river of tears; it’s been building up for years for this moment now. Here I stand arms open wide. I’ve held you close, kept you safe till you could fly. Tell me where the road ahead is gonna bend and how to harness up the wind and how to say goodbye. Tell me why, why does following your dreams take you far away from me and I knew that it would. Tell me how to fill the space you left behind; how to laugh instead of cry and how to say goodbye.”
Saying goodbye to Haiti, saying goodbye to Jesus; don’t be sad, you will see them again soon. Jesus left us with His Spirit and Word. Haiti has left you with their love and images. And you can continually remind them of you through your generous gift to Trinity/HOPE; as their children daily receive a bowl of beans and rice and they share their love and your love of Jesus Christ with their neighbors in the streets of Haiti.
Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.
May God be with you…Jay