Six years have come and gone and the time came to be despedidad (not a real word, I added some extra letters for emphasis).
I always imagined that when I ended my time at CCA, I would be leaving Panama, but as usual, God had very different plans than I did/do.
There is a long story behind this, one that I will blog about later, but I am not going to be teaching next year. The long and short of it, I love living in Panama, I cherish the sweetness of community, and have been shaped, molded, broken, and remade through my time in Panama. As the past year progressed, I still enjoyed teaching, but the zeal and passion was waning. I sensed coming burnout and dreaded that. I've always wanted and tried to give everything I have to teaching and was reaching empty. As I prayed and processed for the coming year (2012-2013), I desperately wanted to stay in Panama, but knew to stay I would have to teach (or so I thought). God miraculously opened a way for me to continue in my passions, but take a respite from teaching. In the coming year, I will be the interim children's director at CBC while the Edmond's family teaches in Guinea and works alongside missionaries there.
So as the Despedida drew near (the annual "goodbye" party at CCA), it would be my turn, even though I wasn't leaving Panama. The sweet part was that Jen and I would be despedidad together, which is extra special because she and I began the CCA teaching journey together.
A typical CCA Despedida includes: dinner, fellowship, laughter, saying farewell to those who are leaving, and sharing of memories.
Here are some pictures from that night.
It was a sweet night of remembrance and of celebration. I was reflecting with Jess W afterwards at the difficulty of saying goodbye, but how sweet the Lord is in bringing new people on board. Two years ago, Dave and Mindy were just names I had heard. We had no idea the impact they would bring and how mightily the Lord would use them. The same is true for the coming year - the Lord will bring new people into our community to grow us and to refine them and new relationships will grow.
Transitions - this is the bittersweet reality for the international context.
Thank you, Lord, for those sweet brothers and sisters you place in our lives, be it for a lifetime or for a brief season. Thank you that we get to meet each other for just a breath here, knowing that eternity will be even sweeter as we stand in Your presence.