Saturday, December 12, 2015



French artist, Bruno Catalano, has created sculptures that he says represent world citizens.  He says that every time a person lives in a place and then leaves, he leaves bits of himself behind, bits he can never retrieve. As many missionaries are retiring and leaving their home of 20, 30, and even 35 years I'm reminded of this picture.  As they are leaving Africa they are leaving chunks behind.  Another way to look at it is that as these servants leave Africa they are also taking with them bits or chunks of Africa with them.  As a  missionary, I know that once you come and stay in Africa for even a short time it kind of gets in your bones.  The more I live here the more I know this is true.  As these missionaries leave I know that they leave something of themselves in Africa, but I'm glad they also take a bit of Africa with them back to the US.  
In our cluster, we had 7 units take the VRI (Voluntary Retirement Incentive) and then one couple who had already planned their retirement for this time.  Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of all who left but I did want to share a little from those I did have.

 Betty and Dwayne Mitchell leaving after 30+ years.  They served in Malawi and Zambia.  
As they left we formed a small pathway and cheered them on as they walked through to the airport.  We also gave them high fives!  I hope they will remember they were loved and appreciated as they served here among us.

 We prayed for them before they boarded the plane.

 They left Thanksgiving Day so there were lots of missionaries in Lusaka already so several of us were able to go to the airport to see them off.

 I will really miss Betty!  She has been a friend and prayer partner for many years.

Van and Mary Thompson also lived in Malawi and Zambia for 35 years all together! They had already planned their retirement before the VRI came out. 

 At this last graduation at the seminary they were recognized for their years of service and given a beautiful copper clock. 

 Those who were in Lusaka were able to go and see off the Thompsons as well.
They will be missed as well.

 Kevin and I traveled to Malawi to say bye to the Polglases and Browns who are both taking the VRI.  I just love these two godly women!  They will greatly be missed!

 Several of us missionaries took them out to an Indian Restaurant and then had this wonderful cake.  We shared different stories or memories we had of these two couples.  

  Jeff and Mary Polglase are on the left and Claudia and John Brown are on the right.
They all served as journeyman many years ago and have served in several countries in their many years of service with the imb.  They will all greatly be missed!

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