This week was by far, one of the most difficult one's Matt and I have been through. I debated if I should even blog on this, because I didn't feel like I could even put into words the love that we had to say goodbye to. To an outsider, this scenario may seem silly to be sad about. But this is just one of those situations where unless you are in our shoes, you have to trust and believe us when we say, we are heartbroken.
Three and a half years ago, Matt and I decided to start working with the Chin Refugee Ministry of Lewisville. At that time, Wyatt was 18 months old, and we knew that going on international missions was not going to be on our radar for quite sometime. So, instead, we sought out international missions in our own backyard. Click here to read more about this amazing ministry and the Chin people.
The Chin, are a people group from Myanmar (Burma) who have fled the country because of religious and ethnic persecution. Many families flee to neighboring countries, before coming to the US as an official refugee. The goal of this ministry is simply to love and equip the Chin people. Many Chin have taken residence in Lewisville, and so the need of support grew, leading to the Chin Community Ministry.
There are various ways to support this ministry, but we chose to mentor a family. What does this look like? The ministry paired us up with a family who had recently moved here and we were their "buddies." We were their "family." After an initial introduction with a translator, we used calendars, pictures, limited English and lots of signs to communicate with our family and begin building this relationship.
We would use a calendar to show them when we would come back and tried to meet weekly for the first year or so. After that, we spaced it out to every other week visits.
Those first few months were challenging. It was hard to communicate and the trust had not yet been built. We wanted to help, but we didn't know where to begin. But our children...their 3 boys, and our one boy, had an immediate bond. Language, color, race, environment did not stop them from immediately playing together and laughing. Our love for the same God was the foundation, and then our sweet children grew our relationship.
Week after week, we kept coming back. We would sit on the living room floor and start with pictures. They would show us pictures of their country and we would show them pictures of ours. We used a picture dictionary to help teach words and communicate. We prayed together, in English and in Haka Chin. We would bring them special American treats like donuts and cake to celebrate birthdays. We took them on first outings to places like the library, the park, the aquarium, and sno-cones. We helped them understand their bills. We met for parent teacher conferences at the boys schools to see how they were doing. We did homework each weekend and read books. We loved them. They loved us. Overtime, their family became our family. We were one. Isn't that how it should be? Brothers and sisters in Christ. One body.
Now I'm not going to say this has been an easy 3 and a half years. There were many Saturday mornings that I would have rather stayed in my PJ's. There were times we would be very nervous at the environment and some of the crime that took place around the apartment. There were many times I would freak out about germs and to be honest didn't have the loving heart I should, but God's love would wash over. This was His love anyways. We love because He loved.
Then our family grew more with the addition of Xander. They loved Xander. The baby with the "Golden" hair, they would call him. Over three years, their English grew, they grew, and our love grew. Matt and I would talk about how one day we would see Biak walk across the stage at High School graduation. We had dreams for their family just like our own.
Without going into detail, our dreams were shattered this past Monday. Matt went over with the boys on a Monday that he was off work, and I was working. Within days, their situation had completely changed. Sweet mommy was gone and daddy was moving to New York with the boys. Matt spent time with the translator trying to understand what was happening. This couldn't be true. They can't be leaving. Over the course of the next 3-4 days we learned that not only were the boys and dad moving, they were moving soon. We found out 3 days later, they were leaving Saturday. We had less than 24 hours to get ourselves together to say goodbye.
How do you say goodbye to this? God, we thought we heard you? Isn't this where we were supposed to be? And what about mommy, I don't get to say goodbye to her? How do I hug these boys neck, knowing that I will most likely never see them again? How do I communicate how much I love them? How do I communicate that God loves them more that I ever could? How do I communicate that they have blessed me and my family in a way no one else has? Please God, this can't be how this story ends.
Heartbroken. Empty. Shock. Devastated. Broken. Disbelief.
Those words don't even touch on the feelings that we felt this week, that we felt Friday morning hugging their necks. They don't begin to describe the emotions we feel right now.
So we sifted through files and tried to find as many pictures as we could and printed them to give them. I wrote notes in English expressing our love...expressing God's love. I read the notes to daddy and the boys. I could see in their eyes and tears, that they could see our heart. They loved us too. They were family. They ARE family.
So this chapter in our life ends. This was not the ending I wanted. This was not the ending we had dreamed. But, I have to trust, that though it may seem like this chapter is over, maybe it isn't. Maybe, there is something bigger, and I just won't see it. Maybe I have to let go of my grip, and trust that God sees a much bigger picture.
I am not their Savior. I love them, but there is a love much bigger than mine. So, maybe this chapter isn't over. We just may not see how it ends until the Lord reveals it in full when we meet Him face to face.
Until then, a piece of our hearts is empty tonight.