Goodbyes Suck. Planting Trees.

This is a post that I intended to put up long, long ago.  But I never wanted to write it. But yesterday I finally sat down and made a photo book about my summer at Rafiki Africa Ministries.   Then I saw on a current Rafiki volunteer’s blog that she is heading home in two days, and it reminded me of how hard it was to say goodbye and transition back to life in the states.

Turns out, I eventually had to come home from Africa.

I love Emma, Don, Carol, Jerom, Esther, Annet, Brenda, Oscar, Fauziya, Joel, Joshua and Cocus like they are my own children.  Saying goodbye to them and not knowing if I would ever see them again was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  It was the kind of sadness that translated into physical pain.  I felt like my heart was being squeezed tightly and then ripped out of my chest.

To sum up non-eloquently: saying goodbye sucked.

What encouraged me was the reminder that God is using all sorts of aunties and uncles in these kids’ lives.  He is blessing this ministry with volunteers who are coming to do His work in different seasons.  And none of our work is in vain.  We might not be there in person to see the fruits of our labor, but that is ok.  And with this great thing we call technology, we can still watch these kids grow up through Rafiki’s blog, facebook page, and monthly newsletters.

Andrew Peterson wrote a song called Planting Trees that I think captures this idea really well.  Basically I cry when I hear it.

I would like to share with you a video that captures my time in Uganda really well.  I don’t often take the time to watch videos on blogs, but I would love it if you took a few minutes to watch this one.  Not only does it include video of my time there (which shows Africa so much better than still photos) but it also includes the song Planting Trees, so you can hear it!

Planting Trees

We chose the spot, we dug the hole
We laid the maples in the ground to have and hold
As Autumn falls to Winters sleep
We pray that somehow in the Spring
The roots grow deep

And many years from now
Long after we are gone
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless the dawn

He took a plane to Africa
He gathered up into his arms
An orphan son

So many years from now
Long after we are gone
This tree will spread its branches out
And bless the dawn

So sit down and write that letter
Sign up and join the fight
Sink in to all that matters
Step out into the light
Let go of all that’s passing
Lift up the least of these
Lean into something lasting
Planting trees

She rises up as morning breaks
She moves among these rooms alone
Before we wake
And her heart is so full; it overflows
She waters us with love and the children grow

So many years from now
Long after we are gone
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless the dawn
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless someone

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