Saturday, July 23, 2016

It's almost time to say goodbye and hello again.

As I sit on my brothers back porch of their new home in Tennessee, staring at the lake, I contemplate my approaching departure back to the Africa Mercy. My heart has experienced many different feelings and emotions in the last 2 months and there are many more to come. At the end of May I said goodbye to many close friends including every elementary teacher that I’ve taught with for last 2 years. We worked, played, worshiped, cried and lived together. When you spend that much time 24/7 with your friends you forge deep meaningful relationships which make it very difficult when the time of departure comes.

At the same time I grieved the farewell of some of my closest friends I looked forward in eager anticipation to my time “home” for the summer, although knowing it would be time all too soon to say goodbye to them as well. My time stateside in the summer always seems to go so quickly and yet also seems a lot longer than it actually is. I love getting to be home in the summer. When you have limited time with your family and friends you must be intentional and make sure it is quality time. I gave my nephew Crew lots of hugs and kisses, went on walks, shared meals, chats and coffees with friends and family, rested and recharged.
Crew is a great date!
3 of my favorite people!
Charley, Cutler and Crew

This summer home has been a bit different than most for me. In June my brother Scott, his wife Becca and my nephew and niece Cutler and Charley moved to Knoxville, Tennessee. I am so proud of them for stepping out in obedience to go where the Lord led, it does come at a cost for many however. Before I left Midland almost 4 years ago to serve with Mercy Ships all of my immediate family lived within 10 miles of each other. Now I am living in Africa, my brother in Tennessee and my sister and parents in Midland. It’s a big change after having us all in West Texas my entire life. I’ve found that after almost 4 years of living in a place with frequent goodbyes, in some ways they get easier, but it was strange being the one saying goodbye to my brother and his family as they left Midland for Knoxville 4 weeks ago even knowing I would be coming to visit soon.

In just 2 days I will be boarding a plane to return to the Africa Mercy where it is docked in Durban, South Africa. My heart is all over the place. How do I do a second set of hard goodbyes here in Tennessee before I leave the States once again? How do I grieve the departure of many of my close friends from last year in a healthy way while eagerly embracing the new crew that God is bringing in this year? I know God is in the middle of all of this! I will trust him with my heart and know that he has the absolute best in mind for me no matter what it may or may not look like.  

Thank you once again to all of you who make it possible for me to serve with Mercy Ships. Your prayers, encouragement and support are invaluable to me!

Some pictures from the summer:

I do love the West Texas sunsets
from my parents back porch! 

Amazing friend and alone time in Colorado!
Dollywood with my brother and his family!


  1. Love the update and hearing your sweet heart for family & friends. Thank you for your obedience to teach on the Big Boat! Love you Shea Payne

  2. I loved reading this! You are an encourager! Miss and love you sweet friend and former roommate lol. - Serena Xiao