25 March, 2016

The unforgettable farewell

I said another farewell today. This time to the guest home managers at our Japan Headquarters. An older Swiss couple who have wonderful warm, servant hearts. Who took an early retirement and spent four more years working here in Japan, a place they knew little about. 

In saying goodbye I reminded them of our departure for home assignment in June 2014. We'd left our house in western Tokyo a couple of days earlier and stayed in the guest home while we finished a couple more things. One of which was handing our car over for the year to a young missionary family who'd just moved to Tokyo. 

Their plans didn't allow them to wait a day longer so that we could have our car to the end and it turned out there were no other vehicles available at headquarters to take us to the airport so our plan was to catch the train mid afternoon. Not really a great hardship as there are no changes between there and the airport. 

We took a rest after lunch in preparation for our overnight flight and weren't keeping an eye on the weather. We only became aware of the big storm headed our way when it was too late to leave earlier to miss it. 

I'll never forget our guest home managers grabbing a bunch of plastic bags and wrapping up all our suitcases and backpacks. A Lot, after all we were moving to Australia for a year. 

They then insisted on walking with us through the torrential summer storm, sloshing through ankle deep puddles and pushing against the acutely angled rain. We battled our way past a car sales shop with smugly dry customers and salesmen looking out at us in amazement. It must have been an amusing sight. 

When we got there they talked their way into the platform and unwrapped our precious luggage. As we farewelled our soggy colleagues with all those dripping plastic bags in their hands, the rain stopped and the sun came out!

What a farewell party! Unforgettable. 

I reminded us of this this afternoon and we all laughed. They said, "God must have given us this story so we never forget you!"

Well, we won't forget you either Fredy and Anuk. 

Indeed, it is the stories, the memories of the many friends and colleagues who we've farewelled over the years that are very precious to us. 

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