As our time here in Kenya comes to a close, I have been reflecting on what has been the most difficult part  of our mission trip so far.

Certainly some things come quickly to mind:  the language barrier or the cultural differences, the challenging travel conditions (did I mention small planes!), the diseases that are a constant threat to all of us, especially our children (malaria, typhoid, TB, worms), the conflict and violence all around our mission hospital and the constant news of encroaching threats, sleeping under mosquito nets (at least once I was nearly killed when I entangled myself in mine in an attempt to quickly get to the hospital in the middle of the night, thanks to Jenn for releasing me from its strangulating hold!), missing many of the “comforts” that we are so used to, having to collect rain water from our roof top, boil it for 10 minutes, then filter it and pour it into our month old, reused water bottles…

All these thing have certainly been different for us and in many ways have added to the difficulty of this mission trip.  But by far the most difficult thing we have experienced so far has been having to say good bye to some of the finest people we have ever had the privilege to meet.

Good bye to the Kenyan people–some of the most kind and caring and hospitable people on the planet.  When you say “karibu” (welcome), you mean it…you have opened your arms and your hearts to us and welcomed us into your lives.

Good bye to all the mission hospital staff who have accepted us as if we had been there forever–to Vincent in the theatre, Collins on the ward, David and Andrew in anesthesia, Solomon in PT, and I could go on and on.

Goodbye to Mr. John Wright a great man and a great administrator. Your joy is infectious.  The sacrifice you make for the Kingdom admirable.  Thanks for coffee and cinnamon rolls and a genuine interest in my family, especially my children.  Thanks for the coffee cake on the morning we left when we had very little food in the cottage.

Goodbye to Dr. Russ and Beth White, Dr. Carol Spears, Dr. Mike and Pam Chupp, Dr. Mike and Julie Ganey, Dr. Chuck and Amy Bemm, Dr. Ben and Jeni Roberts and Dr. John and Linda Sprigel–long term missionary doctors.  You “risk it all” for the sake of the Kingdom.  You are true heroes of the faith.  I admire you all. Russ, Carol and Mike–thanks for watching over me as I was re-introduced to surgery.  Words can’t express my appreciation to the three of you.

Goodbye to Dr. Zach Kasapoi, Dr. Geoffrey Kiprono and Dr. Agneta Odera three of the finest doctors I have ever met.

Goodbye to Adam and Jamie, and Julie and Mel and David and Luke and every other missionary kid who so welcomed my children and made them feel at home.  Goodbye to Jack’s Kenyan “best friends” the Bii’s. The valentine card you gave him will forever be a memory.

Goodbye to Dr. Carolyn Stickney and Dr. Brent and Marg Mundy and Dr. Fritz and Elaine Westerhaut–short-term missionary doctors (just like us) who we came to know and appreciate.  Fritz, thanks for teaching me how to do a C-section, thanks for choosing to celebrate your 50th wedding anniversary on the mission field advancing the Kingdom.  What an example you all are to us. Marg and Elaine, thanks for allowing Jack into your lives and into your cottages (at all hours and without our knowledge!).

Goodbye to Dr. Mary Hermes, a 30 + year missionary nurse and educator.  We will never forget your smile and your joy.

Goodbye to Trish and Scott Hughett, our new friends.  Thanks for your overwhelming generosity to us.

The most difficult thing so far on our missions trip to Kenya has been saying goodbye.  We take great comfort though, in knowing goodbye won’t be forever.

From Africa with love,