Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ends and Beginnings.

Today I drove our last three hospitalized patients out of the gate, out of the port, out of the safe and happy and clean confines of the big white ship that lives and breathes love and life and healing.

Photo courtesy of Mercy Ships Australia
I drove them to a local hospital where we handed their care over to the well-trained and willing hands of local physicians and nurses.  There were a few tears throughout the journey and arrival, but they were all smiling when we left; they knew we hadn't abandoned them, they're in good hands, and we'll make sure they are cared for.

And we know they will at least have gloves - that hospital received two landrovers (out of five) full of them on Tuesday!
Photo courtesy of Hannah Wysong
 
As I drove back to the ship we drove past the screening site.  I remembered that early morning ten months ago when I arrived there and got a glimpse of our very first patients.  That was just the beginning... and here we are at the end.  But I was thinking on that as I drove by, and really? it's the end of our patient's time with us... but it's just the beginning of an entirely new life for them.  So honored I got to be there.
Photo courtesy of Comms team

Now the hospital is empty, everything getting packed and cleaned and shredded.  The tents have come down, the dock is buzzing with container packing and cranes and equipment and the incredible pack-up team who has come to bless us with energy and enthusiasm - such a gift to a weary crew.


Photo courtesy of my iphone 3

I had to say goodbye to dear friends today, without whom I don't think I would have made it through this year.  I trust God with them, and trust that I will see them again... but I still can't stop the tears.


Dr. Michelle and I with the K's - miss them already.
Tonight we celebrate as a community the high school graduation of one of our own.  This weekend the exodus continues, with many people leaving, including five landrovers full of people departing with me next Wednesday. I just said a few blog posts ago that I didn't find myself as sad this year as I did last year during this time of last things... but reality is I was just so busy that it didn't hit me until today. And now it hurts.

But really, I'm grateful that I can feel, because it means I am alive.  And I'm grateful it hurts to leave this place... because the only thing worse than this feeling would be to leave and realize that I didn't care at all; that I hadn't made any friends or felt any connection to this incredible country or her people.  And that is most certainly not the case.

I'm once again leaving a piece of my heart here in Congo... Just like I left a piece of my heart in Guinea, in Sierra Leone, in Benin, in Romania... but what they have filled me with leaves my heart not only unbroken, but filled to the brim... blessed beyond measure, grateful to all whom I have had the privilege of loving, working, and teaching, and pray God's abundance of blessing and favor over the people of Congo.


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful concluding thoughts on your effective time there. :)
    Blessings,
    Kristen Anderson

    ReplyDelete