Sayonara, Okinawa--saying goodbye is bittersweet
The only way I can describe leaving Okinawa is bittersweet. It's bitter because this has been our home for 10 years. We have loved living at the Harbor and ministering with Cadence International to the military community here. We have forged incredibly deep friendships, been on the sidelines of what God has done through countless people, served side by side, and watched our kids grow from birth in this home. God has allowed us to baptize new believers, join men and women in marriage, dedicate new babies, and more. Our girls learned to crawl here, ride bikes here, lost teeth here, learned to read inside these walls. They learned to love Jesus here, took communion for the first time here, scrubbed toilets and baked cookies for Jesus with us here. We've had nonstop espresso, the beach, a half-court basketball court. The works!
And yet...departing is indeed sweet because our Father asked us to go. Our Father who is faithful, trustworthy, kind, and sovereign began nudging us to leave starting initially in 1998 (before we got here!), then more hard core in 2009, and finally it felt like He was fully pushing us out with both hands in 2012. Leaving all this is sweet at the end of the day, because it pleases God when we obey Him and He rewards us richly with His peace, affection, and presence.
Three days and counting... Acts 17:26 is one of many verses providing me with strength.