Lots of processing going on in my heart these days. With graduation only a week away, the time has come to release these precious families to go back to their home towns and villages to continue in the ministry God has called each of them to. We have been here in Melut for 18 months and I never could have dreamed that we could love people so deeply in such a short period of time!
As a mother of a 5, 7 and 9 year old I have been praying about how to help my children through more goodbyes. I remember June 2012 when we first arrived in Melut and our boys were super shy with the 50 children who lived on campus. But it didn't take long before they joined the crew of boys who play from sunrise to sunset. Fishing, wrestling in the grass, swimming in the Nile, building things out of mud, planting their own vegetable gardens, building forts - you name it, they've done it!
We started talking with our boys about these upcoming goodbyes a few weeks ago. We told them about graduation and that it meant that their friends would be returning to their homes with their parents. I'm still not sure how to read boys' emotions. :) They seemed to just accept it and get back to playing. But I've noticed in the last week that my older two, but especially my oldest has been drawing back. He's been spending more time inside playing than being out with his friends. I have reminded him a few times that he should play with his friends as much as possible while they're here but he seemed to always come up with an excuse to stay inside (it was too hot, or his friends were teasing him, etc.)
Eli and I were talking about this the other night before bed and my husband had the great idea to plan a fun kids night on Friday night. I don't know where he gets this type of energy with how busy his weeks are but he moved forward and talked to all the parents on campus to get permission for the kids to watch a movie on the projector up in the school building and then for the boys to have a sleepover in the classroom! Mission accomplished. From our house I could hear laughing and squeals of fun for several hours. Finally around 10 pm the noise seemed to die down so I assumed Eli was getting them all in bed (I had a nice quiet night at home to myself.)
Then I heard a knock at the door. It was my oldest son saying he wanted to sleep at home. I asked him why. Then I asked if he was sure. I didn't want to push it too hard so I tucked him into bed. About 15 minutes later he came into my room and said he'd changed his mind and decided to go back up to join the sleepover. And then he burst into tears.
Mothers of MKs out there - I know you know that feeling of your mother's heart breaking. I gathered my big boy into my arms and rubbed his back and told him I understood how hard it was. Between sobs he asked, "Why do they have to go Mom? Why?" I encouraged him that God has always provided him with special friends everywhere we go. I reminded him of other difficult goodbyes he's had to say in the past. And I told him that I knew God would give him new friends. I held him until his crying subsided and then walked him to the door.
At 7 this morning I woke up to the sounds of all the boys laughing and goofing off around a campfire Eli built in the cool of the morning. They were back to having fun and I could hear my oldest son telling someone something in his beautifully pronounced Arabic. My heart swelled and in that moment I knew he was going to be alright.
The goodbyes will be hard during these next few weeks. Please pray for our family as we let go of these beautiful people who are so dear to us.