Our departure from Guatemala was a difficult one. The night before we left, we went to spend dinnertime with the kids in the orphanage. Before eating, one of the oldest girls presented me with a book that the kids had compiled. Each child had written us a message telling us how they loved us and would be missing us. The children too young to write had older kids write their messages. Our letters from Isa and some of the older girls were especially touching. While I was hoping to keep from crying, just opening the book started the tears flowing freely. We will treasure those notes for the rest of our lives.
We were also surprised at the response of many of the ministry workers to our departures. These people that we enjoyed working with all year were sad to see us go and poured out love and gifts our last week in Llano Verde. Already, some of the older children and the orphanage workers have contacted us via email. The Internet is such a blessing as we will hopefully be able to stay in contact and keep up with how the kids are doing.
While Abi is still talking about many of the children by name, she has adjusted well to being with her Papaw and Granna (Shaun's parents) the last couple of weeks. The American snacks are keeping her full of energy, and she never fails to spot each and every Santa and Frosty on people's lawns. In a few days we will be traveling to Cleveland, Tennessee where we will be seeing my parents and shortly after my brother and his family.
We are anxious to learn more about our lives in Paraguay and are thinking and talking of this move often. Abi is ready to move to Paraguay, because we have told her that we will buy her a bicycle once we arrive. We are not exchanging many Christmas presents since our luggage space will be very limited. This plan seems to work for her and so now when Paraguay is mentioned, she is quick to add that in Paraguay she will have her own bicycle.
Over the coming weeks, we will be getting our visas ready for Paraguay, updating Abi's shots, re-organizing our belongings, preparing our finances for the move, and spending as much time as possible with friends and family. Please keep us in your prayers during this time remembering not only the orphaned and abandoned children in Guatemala and Paraguay, but all children that will be spending this holiday season without the comfort of parents and homes.