“I don’t wanna leave! I don’t wanna leave!” Abby cried.
With tears streaming from her eyes, memories competing in her mind, and emotions charging through her heart, Abby stared at the AFM training center property as we drove away just a few days before Thanksgiving.
Yes, this is the same little girl that we wrote about just a few months ago (October Adventist Frontiers), when we shared about her overwhelming anxiety and how it landed her in the ER. Then, she was so stressed about going to Michigan. Now, she can’t imagine her life without the new friends she has made.
Her experience impacted me so deeply because as we prepare to launch to Croatia at the end of January, I think of all the lifelong friends we will be leaving behind. Let me tell you; we must have the most amazing friends. I cannot think of anything these people would not do for us.
There are the friends we made in Michigan during training with whom we still keep in touch—who finished cleaning our condo because we ran out of time. And the friends who have been with us for years as we planted our church in Florida. And there are the friends who gave time and money planning yet another farewell party for us.
We are also blessed to have a wonderful family support system. They have watched our children countless times over the years and recently decorated our home before we arrived back from training—just so our kiddos wouldn’t miss out on the Christmas festivities. They even threw my husband a surprise birthday party to celebrate Gabe turning 40!
This is personally such a humbling experience because I am used to taking care of everyone and throwing parties and gatherings, but between getting all the paperwork ready and packing up our lives into 12 suitcases, I just have not had the time.
So I will lean on the amazing people God has placed in our lives, including our support team, and cherish each because they are worth every tear we will shed when we finally board the plane to Croatia.
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