I’m writing this post in the wake of yet more goodbyes. The summer session of language school ended on Friday and a lot of people are leaving, having completed 3, 6 or 12 months of French learning. I’ve only been here in France for 4 weeks but the goodbyes to people I’ve met here have been harder than I thought they’d be. Everyone is here for a similar reason, to learn French in order to go and share our faith, in various ways, with people in French-speaking countries. That reason unites us, along with the fact that none of us are in our home countries. We have shared hopes for the future and similar current struggles with adapting, temporarily, to a new culture and new people. It’s similar in a way to when I first went to IMC in Birmingham last September, although different in that we’ve all moved countries. I think that fact makes us bond more quickly, as we’re a bit further out of our comfort zone.
I wonder too whether these goodbyes, coming so quickly after my arrival here, have brought back memories of all my previous goodbyes. Goodbyes at IMC were only 6-8 weeks ago. Goodbyes in Torquay have been fairy frequent, as I’ve been back a few times in the past year or so, but the main goodbye to my life and friends in Torquay was over two years ago now. I thought I’d worked through it, but have I.....?
There’s a hard balance to strike here, between processing all the change that’s happening but not dwelling on it for too long. I’d be grateful for prayers as I work through all of this, which is probably one of the hardest parts of being a mission worker.
A friend from Torquay gave me a CD before I went to Chad last time and it’s got a track on it which I listened to, and clung to the words of, a lot when I was there. I’ve been listening to the song again over the past couple of days:
Defender of this heart
You loved me from the start, You never change
Through the highs and lows
As seasons come and go, You never fail
Day after day, Your love will remain
Faithful and true, You are good
You are God with us, You're victorious
You are strong and mighty to save
For Your word stands true, there is none like You
And when all else fades, You remain
- Lyrics from the song ‘Remain’ by Starfield
Whilst people come and go, God remains with me all the time and for that I am forever grateful.