Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Legend.

We say a lot of goodbyes around here... it can be a challenge living with a constant level of grief. Some of the hardest are the long-term goodbyes - people who have invested here for more than two years.  When we say goodbye as a community to these treasures, we get to honor them by praying them out as a community, and usually their manager or someone up the foodchain gets to write a few words.

Last week we had to say goodbye to Rob.  Now, I don't remember many of the crew who were here just a few years ago; the turnover is such that people get forgotten relatively quickly.  However, this guy will always be a legend here in these halls, I guarantee it.  I had the privilege and the honor of working with him this last year and was even more honored to pen these words of blessing for him that were offered last week.

I know I am not alone in the belief that there are simply not enough adequate English words to begin to describe, honor, and thank Rob for the impact and influence he has had on this community.

Rob joined the Africa Mercy nearly three years ago as the Academy math teacher.  For a subject that causes many children to shudder and adults to groan, I’ve heard Rob still made it fun.  He not only selflessly served and encouraged the students, but in his spare time tutored other crew members, participated in bible studies and connect groups, was the president of Toastmasters, played a variety of sports, and served, valued, and encouraged every single person he came into contact with.

A year ago he accepted the position of Medical Capacity Building assistant for the Mada 2 field service.  It wasn’t a glamorous job, but Rob’s enthusiasm and passion to bring hope and healing to both the medical providers who participate in our training programs, and to the multitude of patients that they serve, was always on display.  He brought laughter to the stressful moments, fresh ideas and technical expertise in streamlining some of our processes, and unbridled enthusiasm anytime he shared about MCB programs.  He selflessly got up early when needed and often stayed late; he poured into our day crew and encouraged them to dream bigger dreams for their future.  He was the rock that held our team together as we managed projects on the ship, in town, in Tana, and across the country.

Rob, I know the crew will agree with me when I say it has been an honor and a privilege to share in community, in work, in calling, and in life with you.  You look like Jesus; you make me want to be a better person; to reach higher, further, and deeper into the richness of God’s grace and favor; and to inspire others to do the same.   Rob, from the depths, thank you for being a part of all of our stories; for being a shining example of strength, perseverance, fierce determination, and the wholehearted pursuit of life to the full.

As you leave this place, may the Lord go ever before you, to light the path for your feet.  May you hear the voice behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”  May he bring you alongside others, who will bless you, and many more whom you will bless, as you navigate the journey and the unknown.  May He surround you with His goodness, His peace beyond understanding, and hope and a future greater than anything you could dare to ask or imagine. 

Rob, thank you again for all you have given to this place, these people, and to me. I will forever be grateful.  You are missed.  God's richest blessings on your new season and beyond.

Rob was a key part of this team over this field service in Madagascar

I stole this photo off his facebook page


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