Big hellos and heartfelt goodbyes

Knowing how hard it was to say goodbye after just one month with these children in 2012, I had been dreading my final days.

_0020_Goodbye with Purity by ELI sign_R

And as I sat on the plane yesterday with an aching heart, I wondered how long it would be before I get to see these beautiful faces again . . .

Kimaru, Moon, Kiptoo

I came back to Kenya last year focused on outreaches in the slums. Hanging out with the kids from the Children’s Home in my free time was just an added bonus.  Throughout the year, my role at the home has been ambiguous and undefined.  I wasn’t a nurse. I wasn’t a teacher.  I wasn’t a Sunday school preacher.  But there is one thing I did do . . . every single day I would go to the home and yell out the kids’ names as I saw them. “Hi Chumba!! Hi Flovia!!  Sandra habari?! Diana sasa?!”

At first they thought it was weird. They didn’t have to tell me. I could tell by the look on their faces. “Why does she yell out across the compound like that to say hi?? No one else does.”   But as the kids got used to my loud, over the top greetings, they began to reciprocate, “Hi Collleeeeeen!!”  I often responded with a big hug asking about their day.  Sometimes I just got a quick “good” and other days they opened up about deeper hurts and struggles.  I mostly just listened trying to create a safe place for them to share.  I believe that sharing your burdens with another person often lessens the pain.

The God who I believe in greets all of His children in this way.  He is so excited to see us every single day that he shouts our name with a ginormous smile and open arms, wanting to hear how we are doing.  When we feel this loved by God, it is easy share it with others.

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I didn’t do a lot of “big” things in Kenya but I did strive every day to follow the advice of Mother Theresa . . .

Don’t look for big things. Just do small things with great love. The smaller the things the greater must be our love.

Many tears were shed as I said goodbye to friends in Kenya, especially with these girls who hold a very special place in my heart.

Goodbye to Children's Home Girls

As we wept, I said the same thing to them that I did when said goodbye in 2012, “don’t ever be ashamed of your tears.  Our tears are not only brave, but they signify the depth of love we have shared.”  Amidst the sadness, I feel a deep sense of gratitude for all the amazing people God brought into my life over the past 14 months.

The heartache of the goodbye is worth it.

Always Hopeful,

Colleen

 

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Comments

  1. Alan Block says

    That was beautiful, Colleen! I am grateful to have been able to follow your journey. Hope you have a safe trip home and a wonderful reunion with your family and friends.

  2. Thanks alot for the good work you did here in Kenya.God bless you.

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