"Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words." Saint Francis of Assisi

Thursday, July 04, 2013


I first visited another country when I was 27. I went to the Ukraine with a group on a short term missions trip.

How I got there is a post for another day. Today I wanted to share how that trip ended.

There was a man in my group that had been to the little town of Torez, Ukraine before. He kept warning me of how bad the goodbye will be. He warned me of lots of crying.

I'm not a big cryer. It's not that I think it's not macho or that it shows weakness. I have no problem with crying. I cry when someone close dies. I tear up at some movies and when I listen to some Christian songs. I don't mind crying but I don't tend to be weeper. At least not much before I went to the Ukraine.

So when my friend told me to be ready for weeping I really didn't think much about it.

Then the last day of our time in Torez arrived. I had spent close to three weeks being with my Ukrainian family. My life would never be the same.

I woke up that day very sad. I was super excited to get home to my girlfriend and our two young daughters. Very excited. But at the same time it felt like someone was ripping my heart out of my chest. How could that be? How could these people have that kind of impact on my life in just three weeks?

We left the city on a chartered bus that would take us two hours away to get on a train.  Everyone knew what time we were leaving and people came to tell us goodbye. As I said my goodbyes I couldn't even talk. Why? I was weeping.

I mean weeping uncontrollably. Like blubbering, can't say a word type of weeping. And I couldn't stop. My Ukrainian family was hugging on me and telling me to not be sad. I heard them but I couldn't stop. We said goodbye and got on the bus where I wept for another thirty minutes. My brother put his hand on my shoulder and said, "I told you this was going to be a tough goodbye." I couldn't speak. I just waved him off.

I would get quiet and thought I was stopping and then a wave of emotion would overtake me again and I would begin weeping. For thirty minutes I did this. It was tough but I felt so blessed to have met those people.

Why in the world do I share all this today?

Ansley leaves Ecuador tomorrow. For those that don't know she has been in Ecuador for a month working at the same orphanage she worked at for five months last year.  Thank those of you who helped her get there. We can never repay your kindness!

Anyway, she leaves tomorrow and is dreading it. Dreading it because her heart hurts for those kids. She LOVES those kids. Especially one little guy named Anthony.

Tomorrow she gets on the plane to come home. She's coming home to a family that loves her and can't wait to be with her again.

I know she is super excited to be home but yet she is sad because she has to leave her kids and she doesn't know when she will get the chance to go back.

So excited to see us and so sad to leave the kids at the same time. It rips her heart. I understand that feeling and I only spent three weeks in the Ukraine, not six months.

So I ask that you pray for Ans. We would love for you to pray for her safety on her flights home. That would be great. But we also ask that you pray for her heart as she gives those kids goodbye hugs. That God will bless her with the strength to leave them one more time.

It's going to be hard but your prayers will make it easier.

While you are praying, why not take a minute and visit her blog? Just click here to read her latest post about Anthony and while you are there leave her an encouraging comment. I know that will help her through the next few hours as she says her goodbyes.


Anonymous said...

I am sure Ansley has been a blessing to those kids and that they love her because she loves them so much. I am glad she is coming home, but one of these days it wouldn't surprise me to see Ansley in Ecuador again.

JOHN kaven said...

The connections that you make early in your career will take you far. After 20 years it is still true for me. This has been true regarding companies I worked for and those I worked with. All you have written is excellent advice.
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