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Goodbyes

I’ve gotten really good at goodbyes.

I’ve spent 12 months away from family over 10 international trips in the past three years! Each of those times I’ve said goodbye to my parents and 8 siblings. I’ve also had to say goodbye to my newfound friends who have become family away from family and my many babies.

This time was different. This time It wasn’t goodbye for a few months to come back to home as it has always been. This morning I said goodbye to my older sister and my childhood home. My sister, who I’ve spent my life following behind and looking up to for as long as I can remember, who has been here nearly every time I have gotten back from Haiti to greet me. Who went before me in nearly everything… until Haiti. She is moving to Colorado. She got offered a high demand job in a Christian discipleship school and will only be coming back for short visits.

In response to my sadness last night over this season of change, my best friend told me, in very blunt Haitian fashion, “You leave them all the time, they don’t hold you back. You need to let her go too, to do the things she has to do. She can’t stay home forever.”

Though hard, he is right. She can’t stay home forever, and neither can I. Because God doesn’t create us, as Christians, to gather into one spot, rather to “Go into all the world”. I think of Jim Elliot’s letter to his parents in response to their hesitation at his going to Ecuador as missionary with little hope of seeing them again.. He said this:

I do not wonder that you were saddened at the word of my going to South America. This is nothing else than what the Lord Jesus warned us of when He told the disciples that they must become so infatuated with the kingdom and following Him that all other allegiances must become as though they were not. And he never excluded the family tie. In fact, those loves which we regard as closest, He told us must become as hate in comparison with our desires to uphold His cause. Grieve not, then, if your sons seem to desert you, but rejoice, rather, seeing the will of God done gladly. Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said that they were as an heritage from the Lord, and that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows? And what are arrows for but to shoot? So, with the strong arms of prayer, draw the bowstring back and let the arrows fly–all of them, straight at the Enemy’s hosts. ‘Give of thy sons to bear the message glorious, Give of they wealth to speed them on their way, Pour out thy soul for them in prayer victorious, And all thou spendest Jesus will repay.’

Jim Elliot

No sacrifice shall be too great for our Lord. Even that of family ties. And so I cheer my sister on, in the path God has for her and I press on in the way He has for me. Knowing that one day we will all be united around God’s throne with people of every nation and tongue. May we ever say “Yes Lord!” in response to His call, wherever it may take us!!

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Hi! I’m Rachel. Through a series of God orchestrated events I ended up in Haiti, in 2017.  Through years of serving with a ministry there I came to love the country and its people. I met Nelson and we got married in 2020. It was the best decision of my life! 

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