It was an emotional week for the family at Kirabo Seeds as they said good-bye to Uncle Christopher. He has been volunteering at our home since January. Yesterday he arrived safely home in Texas. I’m sure he’s enjoying the first hot shower in months, a variety of missed foods, the comfort of family and western world roadways. The list of what he misses is much longer and it will take some time to adjust to our first world way of life again. Donny and Jordan are off to the airport today so they can spend six weeks serving the family in Uganda. I’m excited to see what God will do with them. I wrote a letter to the children to help them understand their heartache, and thought I’d share it with all of you too.
Dear Kirabo Seeds Family,
I understand yesterday you said good-bye to a dear member of our family when Uncle Christopher had to fly home. Even as I am here on the other side of the world my heart was feeling the aches for all of you. I wanted to take this time to write to you and explain the broader picture of our heartache. It could be that saying good-bye to him hurt so much that you would protect your heart the next time a new person comes to visit and try to save yourself this heartache. I want to urge you not to do that and this is why I will write to you today.
See in my life as a mama and wife my husband’s career has caused our family to move ten times. I would settle into a new city where I didn’t know anyone and make friends, get involved, and feel at home knowing someday I would have to say good-bye. Every two or three years we would start all over in a new city where we didn’t know anyone. It would be easiest if I did not get too involved because then saying good-bye would not hurt me so much. But I always chose to throw all of myself into my new home and trust God will make something good of it all, and be there for me when I hurt.
What I want you to know is God used all those relationships I made in those ten cities to help bring support to Kirabo Seeds, and sponsors to our children. I think you should see that many of your sponsors are people who were my dearest friends when I lived in their cities and my heart ached just like yours does to miss Christopher when I said good-bye. But God knew they would participate in this ministry someday and there was a reason for me to put my heart at risk for heartache when I became their friends. I’m so glad I didn’t hold back because now you have sponsors!
God always has a big plan for our relationships that we don’t see. If you look through a straw you only see a little point of the landscape, which is what it is like to be human. But God sees everything, all the time, everywhere. We can trust God with our hearts knowing someday the heartache will be for everyone’s good.
Now, Christopher was called by God to do this work. I didn’t know him at all but a friend from a city where I once lived had a son who did a report in a class at Baylor about our ministry! That’s how Christopher found us! God used a relationship I had in a city where I once lived to bring Christopher to us. He understood this was what God was asking him to do even before I understood it! Here’s what I know for sure, and what I want all of you to begin to believe and trust: Christopher has just begun his journey with all of you. He needed to be there with you and love you deeply and know you completely so he can come home and help you in other ways. It is Auntie Erica and me here in America doing this work and now we have Christopher on our team. I believe God will take the deep love and knowledge he has of you and turn it into something that will make a great difference in your lives. I also believe he will return some day to visit you and what a celebration and reunion that will be for everyone!
Please don’t despair. Please don’t decide to guard your hearts when new friends come. Trust God to use these relationships in ways that we’ll never know. Trust him to help you through the sadness. One of the reasons I wanted to send our sons Donny and Jordan to you is to help you get through the loneliness of missing Uncle Christopher. He was so special and shared so much of himself with you. I admire the way he pursued knowing each one of you and shared so much of his heart with you. He is indeed special and you will always remember the little things he did with you and how he enjoyed sitting reading a book to you, playing a game or making a puzzle. When you remember these things I hope you will say a heart felt “thank you God”. That’s what I do.
Nothing in this life is ours to keep. The more we give away ourselves, as Christopher did, the greater the love of God in us is shared and enjoyed by unknown people. Letting him go is painful. I know. But what you were given through knowing him is so worth this present heartache. Please don’t hold back when a new friend comes to share their hearts with you.
I believe and trust God will send many more interns like Christopher in our future. Each one will be a rare and special jewel in your life that you can string onto a necklace and count as blessings. Someday you will see how God will use those relationships for his glory. Trusting God with our whole heart means making ourselves vulnerable to be sad but knowing we will be ok and it is worth it.
When you feel the sadness and are missing him too much please write a letter to him. Write lots of letters and then when Donny and Jordan come home they can bring the letters and I will send them to him and he will write back! I believe when I travel he will write you letters like your sponsors! So you write first!! Tell him all the things you remember about him and how much it meant to you. Tell him how you are using the good advice he taught you in your daily life. Remind him of secrets you shared and the jokes you made together. He will love to hear from you.
You are blessed by God my friends because Christopher said “yes God I will go”. In everything give thanks to God.
I love you!