Saying Goodbye

Saying Goodbye

March 16, 2018

Dear friends,

My heart is full! Leaving is always bittersweet-I am missing and longing to see my family, my daughters, my grandchildren but I am not ready to say goodbye to the folks here. The many faces of FATEB:  Dr. Nupanga, the doyen of FATEB,  a well- known theologian and our friend; Christopher and Marcelline, our dear friends- the chaplain and the directrice of the women’s school and head of hospitality;  Marcelline, Gertrude and Blanche-three teachers at the women’s school that I am honored to call my friends; Esther, who has an infectious laugh and smile and keeps my house squeaky clean; Joel, my son, the young man who helps me with the children’s program and teen boys program; the children who love without condition and bring such joy, the teen boys who love sports; Yolande, my friend and translator for the teen girls program; the teen girls who sing with exuberance, pray with zeal and are always laughing and smiling , the seminary students who have a passion for learning and following God’s call on their lives, the women-my sisters – my friends, the community of believers here who have made us part of their family; my English students who make class fun and challenging.  I love and will miss them all. Hope the pictures give you a glimpse of the people and the place we love so much!

I will even miss the crazy taxi rides where you share the taxi with 6 or 7 other people, two in the front seat, not including the driver, and as many as you can fit in the back sitting on laps of others you don’t know; going to the bakery to get bread, the crazy traffic filled with taxi’s, motorcycles and people walking in between all of it as they all drive around the ruts in the road. As a missionary once old us, you know the drunk drivers because they are the only ones driving straight. (no pics as you can’t take pictures in the city).

As I walked over to married housing last night in the dark to say some final goodbyes, children were out drawing water, many were sleeping on mats outside on the ground because it was too hot to sleep inside ( the housing provides two small bedrooms and most families average 5 – 7  children with other family members living with them) , women were washing dishes outside by flashlight or candle light (electricity was out), men were talking together. I stopped at one house where they were all sitting inside, 8 children and the parents, singing together, playing the guitar, drum and tambourine, praising God together in Lingala.  It was beautiful, I could have listened all night.  I was struck by the realization that I never hear any of the students complain about the inconveniences, the challenges and struggles of their everyday life.  What I do hear is their gratefulness to God for another day to be alive, to serve Him, for their family, for their opportunity to study God’s Word and their confidence that God will provide and thankfulness to God for His protection and grace and their vision for the future ministry.

To our family at home-we love you so much and can’t wait to see you!   To our prayer partners, thank you for praying! To God, all honor and praise; thank you for your protection, mercy, undeserved grace and love on us and toward us.  We pray YOUR light and love shone through!! 

Love, John and Marilyn    

Dr. Nupanga, the Doyen of FATEB
Christopher and Marcelline
View of the Infirmary and Preschool

The etage
The etage, where many students and their families live.
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