Thursday, August 18, 2011

a very tearful farewell

I can't believe this day arrived so quickly. Today was our last day with the Sweetwater Girls. I was already dreading it going in. These girls have completely stolen my heart, and there is no doubt that I will be leaving a piece of it here as we go home.

The past couple of days (since my last post) have been just incredible. God has moved in some powerful ways in the lives of many of the girls. There have been walls breaking down, hearts being pierced, and truth sinking in. At the same time, I have been changed. I have been inspired by these girls' stories. I have been encouraged by their faith. I have been infected with their joy. They have brought me to tears and my side has hurt with laughter. My heart is full. I truly cannot wait until the day that I will see them again, whether here on earth or in heaven.

There is a sweet, sweet girl who was in mine and Monique's small group this week named Florence. I could tell all morning that she was heavy with sadness, so I went up to her and asked what was troubling her. She mentioned something about her head hurting but then said, with tears in her eyes, "When will you be able to come and see us again?" (which was when I realized what the heaviness all morning had been about). It was a heart wrenching question. I told her that I would pray to God to give us the opportunity to come back and see them one day...and I meant it. I assured her that even if we do not see each other again here on earth, there will be a day when we will all be together forever. She smiled in affirmation but could not hold back the tears. It just about ripped my heart out (...not only for her, but also for me). She asked if she could have a picture of me so that she could always remember me...

Me with Sweet Florence
(I told her I would mail it to her...)

This afternoon, we had a very sweet time of washing the girls' feet and praying over each of them. It was just such a blessed time of serving, honoring, blessing, and encouraging our sisters in Christ. There were many...many...tears.

It was heart wrenching saying goodbye to them today. I knew that our team would be very emotional about leaving, but I did not expect all of the tears from the girls. It is incredible the bond that can so quickly form when the relationship is built on Christ and centered on Him. I truly feel as if these girls have been my little sisters for years. It is hard to imagine that I have only known them for 4 days...crazy.

I am sitting here in my hotel room and their faces are just running through my mind. My heart really is heavy already missing them and wondering...hoping...that I will be back here before they graduate in a couple of years. As I told Monique tonight, it is almost unbearable to think about not ever seeing them again ( least this side of heaven...). Oh, what a very blessed and life altering week it has been. A piece of my heart is undoubtedly staying in that little house outside of Accra, Ghana.

Please say a prayer for my sweet sisters - that they would continue to move forward boldly in the Lord, that they would take their stand against the enemy's schemes, that they would find healing from their hurts, freedom from lies, and that God would continue to relentlessly pursue their hearts until they are fully His. Amen.

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