Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Bitter & Sweet Goodbye

One of our team members in Jordan shared the following story about a frien'ds goodbye party.

One young man who loves us as family whom we have known for two years, has desired for all that time and more to travel to Australia. Oscar has had a close relationship with us and is around MOST of the time even though he speaks almost no English. We have always been amazed that he will spend so much time with us similar to what some of our students do even though he met us through some students; we were with him as we traveled around Jordan many times and he has even taken us out-of-the-way places that others have never even thought to show us; he even took us on a picnic in the mountains near the new summer palace that is nearing completion for the King. Oscar finally worked out all the details for the journey of his dreams. Two weeks ago, he arranged for someone to come from Amman, pick us up after my late finish at the center that day, and drive us a long distance (to and from) to be with him and his family the night before he left. We had a wonderful time being with this great host of family and friends – all extremely happy and excited for O and this great event. What a celebration!!!! And we were very glad that we had taken a lot of western party sweets (not candy) since there seemed to be sparse goodies for them to serve with the coffee/tea to the great number of guests. There were lots of cousins from just born all the way up to university level since this is a very large family.

Naturally, we were way out in a distant village and it was already late when we began our journey there that night, but we wouldn’t have missed this event. As we joined the “going away” celebration , My husband was with the men and I was in the area with the women and the dozens of children. After the usual cultural greetings to Oscar’s family and friends, the children warmed up to me, relaxed and slowly began to recite all their English words, count from one and say the alphabet for me. Then one little girl asked me to sing and I did; they heard ALL the choruses we sing with western children, my funny “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” “act” with cute motions they can all do (even the adults) , and, finally, the softer, more gentle, sweet songs about Jesus. I ended with the “Love in any Language” song and TRIED to teach them the signing for that song. Of course, they asked for more. We were HOT, tired and yet, “refreshed” by the love we felt with O’s family and especially the opportunity I had to share my faith with O’s older sister (a teacher) who talked at length with me about Islam and her faith. She listened intently at HIS story and how HE lives within and gives us all this “joy for the journey”! We had lots of hugs and kisses as we left late that night. We, too, are thrilled for O as he begins this new chapter in his life. The fact that we probably would never SEE O again pricked our hearts and we shared with each other that perhaps WE probably would never again one-on-one be able to share more about Jesus Christ with O. YET, we are prayerfully confident that HE can and will bring that special person into O’s life immediately upon his arrival to show THE WAY as O continues “seeking” the answers to all his questions and he finds that Jesus IS truly “THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE”.

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