Thursday, June 11, 2009

Goodbyes and Grace

And here we are again. That word.


In January of 1995 Jeff and I arrived, with our vehicle and 9 rubbermaid trunks to Kagote housing district, Ft Portal. We had no beds. No table. No stove. No furniture.


We also had no friends. In our pockets were two letters. One was for David and one was for the LC5, a local government official. We would eventually meet those two men, but for some weeks, it was just us, two german shepherds and a very foreign place.

Sometime during those first months, on a Sunday, an American drove into our compound. His name was Bob and he and his wife were planning to move to Ft Portal permanently. They were building a house and in the process of adopting their first baby. We quickly made plans to meet up for a meal.

Over the next months we shared many candlelit dinners with Bob and Jennifer. Candlelit because we had to. No power. We lived for those debrief times. Bob and Jennifer were living in two tiny mud rooms. We were carving a niche in a rat and cockroach infested concrete house.

We would talk late into the night about this foreign culture we were trying so earnestly to learn about and survive in. We always had hours of stories between us. Marriage. Language. Electricity. Water. Construction. We laughed a lot. Cried some. Prayed for each other. And hoped. We had so much hope during those days.

We were unlikely friends. Presbyterians thrown together with the church of Christ. Theological differences, varying backgrounds, contrasting personalities.

One Lord.

And that was enough. He is always Enough.

Twelve years and 9 children later, we stand on the other side of our goodbye.

Thankful for Grace.

Because that is what made it all possible. Grace for our differences. Grace for our shortcomings. Grace in a million big and little ways.

How do you summarize 12 years of births, adoptions, burials, birthdays, holidays, victories and defeats?

I don't think I can.

Instead, I take all that those years have given. Give thanks.
And move forward.

Looking towards Home.

God be with you, Chedesters. We love you.

I know His Grace more for walking with you.


kim said...

Wow! I enjoyed reading several of your posts today. You are an incredible writer!!! Have you ever thought of getting some of these published? You should. I so agree that the LORD is enough to bring unity to us.
-from a fellow missionary in another culture, from another denomination

Bob Chedester said...

Cheryl, Thank you for you kind & gracious words. I don't know how we would have survived Fort Portal without those times to decompress & relax with You and Jeff. Our two families have become one big family and we will definitely miss you all. With the rest of my family in the US, and as I prepare to join them next week, tears of gratitude fill my eyes for the years of freindship God has given us and for the ways He has knit our hearts together even as he did with Jonathan and David. We will miss you, our beloved friends.
God be with you till we meet again. Bob