August 1, 2013. This day marks the beginning of our countdown for the big launch. In a year's time, God willing of course, Louise and I will be leaving the country we have called home since 1996 for the country we will call home for who knows how long.
As you can imagine, our emotions are mixed...excitement on the one hand and sadness on the other. We will be saying adieu to so many good friends and family. This will be the first time we will be separated from our children and our grandson by an ocean. I am not sure we have fully comprehended the gravity of this reality. I remember, years ago when I was a young Christian embarking on my first mission away from home, reading a biography of Hudson Taylor. In it, he described saying his final goodbye to his widowed mother.
“My beloved mother had come over to
Liverpool to see me off. Never shall I forget
that day, nor how she went with me into the cabin that was to be my home for
nearly six long months. With a mother's loving hand she smoothed the
little bed. She sat by my side and joined in the last hymn we should sing
together before parting. We knelt down and she prayed - the last mother's
prayer I was to hear before leaving for . Then notice was given
that we must separate, and we had to say good-bye, never expecting to meet on
earth again. China
For my sake she restrained her feelings as much as possible. We parted, and she went ashore giving me her blessing. I stood alone on deck, and she followed the ship as we moved toward the dock-gates. As we passed through the gates and the separation really commenced, never shall I forget the cry of anguish wrung from that mother's heart. It went through me like a knife. I never knew so fully, until then, what "God so loved the world" meant. And I am quite sure my precious mother learned more of the love of God for the perishing in that one hour than in all her life before.
Oh how it must grieve the heart of God when He sees His children indifferent to the needs of that wide world for which His beloved, His only Son suffered and died."
Taylor, J. Hudson, A Retrospect, Dodo
But thankfully, times and transportation opportunities have changed, and we will be separated only by a few hours flight rather than months of sea travel. And then we do have a whole year to spend quality time with them...
So the countdown begins...