“Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” Philippians 4:21-23
On this side of Heaven, saying goodbye can sometimes be difficult. When you travel with a mission team to visit school children in Haiti there is always perhaps one or two children who will just linger and hold on to your hand, your shirt sleeve, tap your leg with their hand just not wanting the moment to end. When I lived in Haiti it was me at the airport with the departing mission team, hanging with them at the airport while they stood in line waiting to enter the airport terminal. It was me standing there in the heat, trying to catch on more fleeting glimpse of their smile, one last hand shake, just one more hug…one last word before they left for North America and I would return to my truck and drive back to my apartment in Petionville. After a week of conversation with English speaking brothers and sisters in Christ, it was hard to return up the long hill on Delmas to a hot and lonely apartment room. Saying goodbye can be difficult on both ends of the handshake. There is a song by a Gospel group called ‘The Nelons’ that is titled “Christians Never say Goodbye” and it comes to mind every time I have to say goodbye. Good bye to children in Haiti, goodbye to a loved one or goodbye to one who was close to death.
“I was standing by the bed side of a dear and precious saint with tear stained eyes I held his hand his life was growing faint. He looked at me and said; "my child why do you look so sad, I'm going now to my new home you'll see me again. Christians never say goodbye, we only move to our home on high; free from pain and never die with Jesus we will reign. A wife may lose her husband or a mother lose her child whatever the case we all can say Christians never say goodbye. Now he's gone to live in heaven, a life free from pain. His suffering now has an end and our loss will be their gain. By Jesus rights he is healed; his pain will be no more let's release the precious saint to the arms of the Lord.”
On a hot afternoon in Ouanaminthe, two girls stood by the open door of our vehicle waiting to say goodbye. Good bye is temporary in this world. These faces will be reunited in Heaven. Thank you for preparing these children for the reunion with Jesus, and with you in Heaven.
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