With some of our classmates on our last voyage together in Strasbourg
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. When we arrived nearly three months ago, we had no idea what to expect of our time here. We were not sure what the other students would think about these two really old people who would be their classmates. We know what they were thinking, “Who are they?”and “Did my parents send them here to spy on me?” Then there were the teachers, would they resent us for being ‘’special”? You know grades don’t really count for us, would they think we wanted special treatment? You know, the usual pre-school jitters, will the kids like me, will the teachers like me, will I have friends, will I pass? All those questions. The only thing we had nailed down was the boyfriend-girlfriend thing, that we had covered.
Now three months later, we have all the answers. We passed, actually quite well, thank you very much, and our classmates and teachers liked us, even said they would miss us. And, in case you are wondering, even with the stress of school and all, we are still together. In fact I don’t remember college being this much fun. And, sorry Tom, but Bekki is the best roommate I have ever had.
Bekki with classmates Jacquie and Grace
And we made friends, lots of friends, good friends, and that is the part neither of us expected. It was not supposed to hurt this much to have to leave. Yes, we are counting the hours to when we are with Jon and Lindsay again, but at the same time it has been really hard to say good-bye. We have tempered it some with the promise to come back next November for the AMALF Congress, but our classmates will be gone, and we all know it will never be the same again.
For sure we will miss the chocolate, (I had my last bowl of chocolate chip granola this morning), the cheese, the old world charm, the chocolate, the quiet villages, the history, singing French songs in church and at vespers, and of course the chocolate.
With the missionaries to Geneva, who studied French with us, and are now preparing Geneva for the upcoming evangelistic series
But seriously, more than those temporal things we will really miss the people, our friends. These people have prayed with us, and for us, encouraged us, cried with us, laughed with us, and taught us. So many of them are former missionaries to Africa, especially Cameroon, and they have told us stories about the missions past, and they listen to our stories of the mission present and future. When they heard about the trouble in Koza, the universal response was, “You can’t go there, it is too dangerous.” And this from people who gave their lives and hearts to Cameroon.
They have been so patient with our French, even though it would have been much easier for them to just speak to us in English. They patiently waited as we worked out what we wanted to say, and then when we got it wrong or didn’t pronounce it right, (read “butchered a really beautiful language”) they didn’t laugh, they just quietly corrected us. And when we didn’t understand them, our dear friends patiently repeated the phrase, slowly, loudly and carefully. And although they were truly talking to us as they would a child, they didn’t make us feel like children.
No, we never thought we would have to say good-bye like this from Collonges, or that it would be this hard. But just like when we left Tillamook, when we left the Lewis-Clark Valley, and when we left our family, we leave with heavy, heavy hearts. And although it hurts every time, it means that we are leaving behind people we love and who love us. It means that we have friends all over the world, friends that will support us and pray for us. And as hard as it is, neither of us would trade our time here, in Tillamook, or the L-C Valley, the experiences we have had, the friendships we have made, or our heavy hearts for anything. Because our hearts are heavy with the love of our friends. À bientôt.
For those of you new to our blog, read about us and our upcoming mission to Africa in the “About Us” page, then there is a “Timeline” page that tells you where we will be this year, and finally a “Definitions” page that explains some terms that may be unfamiliar to some of you. Also check out the links to other Mission Hospitals to find other missionary blogs.
– Scott Gardner