Goodbyes are a not so fun, normal part of the missionary life. It seems people are forever coming and going. There are people that we get to know and love and enjoy spending time with and the next thing you know, they are gone…headed back to the states or somewhere new…and it’s hard to see them go. Sometimes, depending on the season we are in at the time, it is hard being the one left behind.
That is what happens when family and friends visit from Canada as well. We love having them visit but man is it hard when they have to leave. On Sunday we said goodbye to a team from Kitchener Ontario. They are from Dale’s home church and some of them have known Dale since he was a kid. What fun it was to have them here! They were a smaller team of 8 people and the first team to stay in our new team house. It was also an older team…one member was close to 80! Yet this team had energy to spare, especially her, willing to do whatever. One night this 80 year old team ring leader if I may call her that, had the team up til 1 in the morning getting crafts ready for the next day. And the next morning they were raring to go.
We had a lot of laughs with this team and we really enjoyed them.
Some of the highlights were of course the bible classes. The children listened attentively as Ruth told the story. They brought crafts for the kids, and the children loved to watch this teams dance. I wish you could see how the childrens faces lit up watching the ladies and a couple of the guys crazy dance moves. Talk about no inhibitions. And the way the children repeated Lu’s name was adorable! “Luuuuu”.
They also handed out toothpaste and toothbrushes to the children in the schools. As well as ice cream at another. The ice cream was at a smaller school that we had not planned on going to initially, but because classes were cancelled in the school we had plans to visit, we drank our “flexi juice” and went to the smaller school. Funny thing was school was technically cancelled there too for a parade through the community, but one of the teachers had all the children all came back for a kids program and we surprised them all with ice cream in a cup. Young and old enjoyed this sweet treat.
We also made a few home visits. One of the most touching was a home that we had visited a couple years ago with another team. I clearly remember the rains that had fallen that year and I clearly recall how distraught the lady who lived there was. I can still see her in my mind, wailing…I remember Dale and I shoveling mud from her bedroom floor, only to realize that her floor was made of dirt, and we had basically been shoveling her floor and throwing it out the window. The mud was thick and what a mess it had made of her home. It was nice to come back to see her and see that she now had a concrete floor in place of the dirt. Such a sweet and gentle spirit she has. The team was able to pray for her. For her healing from diabetes and the cataracs on her eyes. She is 65 years old, almost the same age as Linda one of the team members.
There was a work team as well, and unfortunately I have no photos of their work project. But, I can tell you what a blessing they were to the community leader Don Santos. They built a wall up at his house so his home is now smore secure. He was so pleased and thankful to finally have it in place.
Another thing that we did with the team was the teachers’s picnic. We invited the teachers and directors of 6 schools for a picnic in a park outside the city. It was a day to celebrate them, without children, without responsibility or stress that comes with their jobs. It was a day for them to just have fun, relax and enjoy. And judging by their faces, I think that they had fun! Dale had games planned for them, prizes, and of course there was food. Our friend Alejandro who is a wonderful chef, cooked up a bbq, with chicken, pork, tortillas, rice and seriously the best beans I have ever tasted..
And of course….we cannot have a team come and not take them to Valle….