Monday, June 18, 2012

Despedida 2012

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. 

 Jen and I together - came in together (we were the ONLY new teachers in 2006 that came to CCA. That may not seem like a big deal, but this past school year there were about 12 newbies that came in, so only 2 seems so little!). No, I did not spill water on myself (although it wouldn't shock anyone). It was raining like crazy that evening, thus the hair up and wet dress!

 Thanks, Ellister, for the lovely centerpieces!!!
 Sweet friends - Jess, Cheryl, and Amber
 Cresta made some AMAZING Thai food that rocked our socks off (had we been wearing socks)! Yummy!
 Licking lips yummo!
 This is what happens when fire, TJ, Cheryl, and napkins sit at the table - Let's play with fire!

 Monica - such a sweet heart for Jesus. So thankful she will be in Panama, but we will miss her!!!
 Mind-a-lynn!!!! So blessed by her life and her zeal. Definitely going to miss her and her spunk
 Jess - so thankful she will be around! Her light for Jesus is a beacon to so many.
 Amber - new neighbor! So excited to live near Amber and watch the Lord shape her into the new season of motherhood!
 David - excited to see how the Lord will provide for the White's as they trust Him for the next step. Going to miss these sweet neighbors!
 Lynn - mainstay. She is a sweet woman of courage and loves others so well. The best part of Ann's speech, "Stop rubbing my back!" Hilarious! They have been a joy to watch as friends!
 Jen - so proud of the growth I have seen in Jen's life. Excited for how being a momma will continue to grow her
 MJ, Marilyn Sue, Ms. Jules = so thrilled she spoke for me. We have had so many sweet memories together and have been through many things together at CCA. She is a pillar! So proud to call her a friend and sister
 Amber - Teacher of the Year!!! Wahoo!!!
 Lynn - Teacher of the Year!!! Wahoo!!!
 After pictures - Mami, Mindy, Lala
 The Whites - love you both!
 New roomie
 The new mommas! 

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. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I hadn't heard about this, even being (sort of) on the grapevine. Exciting to see God's leading in our lives, isn't it? I look forward to hearing how it goes.