|Barb and I in 2005|
We were blessed to get to see them twice after Barb was diagnosed with cancer, to get to talk and cry and pray and worship with them. Our hearts have been deeply grieved as we watched them walk through this difficult journey and, while we rejoice that Barb is free of pain and suffering and peacefully in the presence of our Lord, we struggle with understanding God's perfect plan for Dan and their two children as they figure out how to do life without her.
|Masami & Dee last summer|
|Susan (one of the many) & I|
Besides death, we are experiencing loss through the uprooting of much of our community. Military life involves quite a bit of moving and we have had to say innumerable goodbyes over the years. However, the past year has held an even more significant amount of goodbyes than usual for us. We have lost 4 Chaplains and their families who directly impact our ministry and Chapel world. Two of my closest friends (who have been here since we first got here in 2006) also moved away this year. These are women who I've counted on over the years and who were there for me through both of my pregnancies. Five families who regularly attended and were involved at our Chapel have moved. This is a significant percentage of our small congregation and impacts the way we are able to run. These families also include students from our youth groups, volunteers for our ministry and good friends. We host a weekly small group bible study for adults which has had a complete turnover in the past year of attendees. Last spring we had two couples, three single girls, and 3 single guys who have all left.
Additionally, at our recent staff conference we said goodbye to the Short family. Rich, Melissa, and Jayden have been serving with Cadence student ministries for the last 8 years in Baumholder, Germany. They were the last of our team that had not moved since we arrived in Germany. We have been so grateful to have them just "up the road" from us over the years. They have been great friends from our team who have encouraged and loved us well. We will greatly notice their absence on our team and miss them dearly. However, we are so excited to hear all about their new adventures as they go to serve with Cadence in Thailand.
|Masami & Morgan|
Although these losses are painful, we realize that it is often through loss and death that the Lord makes way for new life and fresh opportunities. In many ways, I am feeling like we are entering a new chapter in our lives. We do not have a big event like a graduation, job change, or major move to mark it by, but there are a lot of little things that mark a new beginning in some ways. Because our community and support system has been so majorly hit, we are building new relationships and trusting in God to take care of us. As you know, we recently made a minor move into a new apartment that has been a blessing to us in so many ways, as well as, brought challenges that has shown us, once again, how God provides for all of our needs. And we have a new co-worker who is transitioning in and brings fresh energy into ministry and who will effect change.
Sorry this one is a bit of a downer, but I promise there will be more to come on the "new life" things that we experience.