I heard a missionary say once that there are no goodbyes, only see-you-soons. But if you really knew it was your last time to see them would you be able to not say goodbye? Is it really goodbye? If we will one day see them again and their memories are forever with us then isn't it just another "see ya soon"?
As people living in a land that is not our own, we are never going to be comfortable with what goes on around us. I am beginning to learn this on a whole new level. Since our arrival in Togo, we have had to distantly say "goodbye" to six people and grieve in our own way. A wise friend recently told me, " Such is the life of a warrior and warrioress on a foreign field of battle. Foxes have holes and birds have nests--but we have no place to lay our heads." This is one aspect of our job that I was not prepared for.
The above picture is the only one I have of my family with Curt and Ethel Pemberton. It was taken on our 2008 furlough when the GracePointe elders and their wives had a dinner/meeting with us. "Miss" Ethel passed away Sunday morning. I have told many people that she was a woman that truly understood the daily blessings that God puts in our lives. I am so thankful that we were able to see her and spend time with her during our recent furlough in March/April. "Miss" Ethel was a woman of energy. A true gift from God...I don't know where else she could have gotten all that energy. She was an encourager, a provider, a servant, a helper, a grandmother to so many, and a lovely southern woman that loved God with all her heart. We will notice she is missing on our next furlough to Montgomery. Thank you "Miss" Ethel for the amazing example you were to me and my family. God has blessed us many times through you.
Please keep the Pemberton family and others at GracePoine as they mourn the loss of Ethel yet rejoice in knowing we'll see her soon.