"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

WOW. What a 24 hours...

On Sunday we drove ALL THE WAY to Norwalk, which is just south of Des Moines. Oh yeah, then we drove ALL THE WAY back home-about 701 miles.
The first group of Zambian students that are at the IBC have been in the States for about two weeks and have another week here. We have known that they were coming for quite awhile and thought about going to see them, really for the kids’ sake and their processes of healings and goodbyes and all that. But still, we didn’t know. There was apprehension, obviously.
The students arrived in the Illinois at the end of September. The next day or so we received a call from them. Our friend who spent two months at the school in summer of ’09 had gone to see them. That morning she said they kept asking about us and when we were coming. That evening she finally just handed them her phone and said just call them! A few of them talked to Brian for a few minutes then when the one realized Ma wasn’t with him, they hung up on him! He says he knows how he rates now! Which I gotta tell ya, is still a little weird to me as I really didn’t spend as much time with them as he did. I sang with them and was around, but still, it’s just weird to me. Anyway, they called and I talked with four of the students and Lucy. We did the greeting-how are you? How is your family? And then they kept asking when we were going to come and see them. At this time we were still a little undecided, but this was definitely pushing (me) us to go. I just told them Iowa or Nebraska, maybe, we would have to see if it worked out.
We finally decided we had to go-the chances of seeing them ever again are pretty much nil. So it was important for the kids. And we have plenty of other friends in Iowa and our friend was coming from Indiana…so it was going to be good. There was of course apprehension about the whole thing, but it was ALL GOOOD in the end.
So we took this drive-about 6 hours for us to get there. We got to a park and let the kids play for awhile and took some pictures and run off a little energy. Then we nervously headed over to the church. Now remember, the students don’t know we are coming. We head into the church and the gym and finally one of the students noticed C & M. I can’t even describe the look on his face-someone else said it was like Christmas, but better. The next thing you know there are 14 students clamored around us and hugs and tears and laughs and handshakes and wow---what a blessing. I look over and the rest of the people there are just kind-of watching it all. It was just beautiful.
For the next 2 hours or so the students are loving on our kids. We had a meal, played games, talked, and caught up. Some of the boys were teasing C & M just like they always did, and the girls were loving on G & H. Other boys were running around with J, M & H. They can’t believe how big everyone is getting. I was steeling myself for the “you are getting fat” but I didn’t get one thankful (maybe they were reminded that it isn’t polite in America!), but C did. She was okay with it-she knew what they meant.
We greeted Iowa friends as well and had some good talks. It really just felt good to be loved, missed.
The service began with some worship from the church’s team and then the Zambians sang their way up and did some songs and some of the students gave their testimonies. They sang their way down and the service ended. We got some pictures and C was asking what was next-where they were staying, we were, etc. and I reminded her that we had to get back. “Oh, great,” she said, “more goodbyes” and started crying. So of course I did too! It’s like they knew it was coming, but there was the realization that in all likelihood we will never see this guys again-and they were such a part of our lives. It was hard. As the students came off the stage from some pictures they came over and started their goodbyes as they had to get going too. Oh again the tears started flowing.
It was good to say goodbye to Faith as she wasn’t there when we left last year. It was good to be encouraged by them, told they were praying for us, and again-just be loved and appreciated it. There were just good, sweet words spoken and felt all night. One of them told us as they left-“remember, we are one”. (A reference to a song they sang) I don’t know how all to describe the day-they were just so wonderful with the kids. Many talked with Brian and shared appreciation. It was SUCH. A. GREAT. DAY.
Of course, they want to know when we will be in Africa again!
There is so much more I could say, ‘cuz this post isn’t doing it justice. Such an awesome God we are called to obey. Such awesome blessings He provides, even amidst much pain.
We finally got on our way about 8:30 and there were tears in the van as we shared things they said and again talked about how this really is probably the last time we will see them. Oh, but it was so good to be there.
We headed up to Ames to see another friend-got there about 9:30 and visited and caught up until midnight. We then headed out, we were wide awake (or so it felt!). After about 1.5 hours we had to stop at a gas station and take a nap. About 4:30am we started driving again and ended up at home a little before 9.
A whirlwind, very long, but very refreshing 24 hours.
Pictures will be coming!

1 comment:

Kara Greenlee said...

I am so glad you guys came! It was priceless! (Plus I got to see you too!!) Love you guys!