Ok that is not exactly true. But trust me when I tell you there has been a lot of crying going on here. There have been too many goodbyes. Goodbyes are not my favorite.
I remember when I was a little girl we would have people come to visit us…and I always hated when they would leave. I’d actually hide in my room so I wouldn’t have to say goodbye. It really is my 1st instinct…to run and hide. Ha. So as you can imagine I’ve really had to push through a lot of goodbyes.
My 1st goodbye was to the Preschool. That was a killer. I cried a lot. I cried everyday. The kids thought I was sick. They asked the other teachers…What is wrong with Miss Tiersa? Is she sick? I finally told them…Yes I’m sick. I’m heart sick. It is because I will miss you so much. They seemed ok with that. One can only suppose what they told their parents. Ha.
The Preschool graduation was wonderful. All the parents…. Ooed and Awed…at all their children had accomplished. It was pretty fun to see and hear the parent’s reactions.
There were lots of hugs….and tears….and many goodbyes. The parents were so kind….thanking me for teaching their children. Asking me if I could stay…. just one more year. They said….Shame Miss Tiersa…we are really going to miss you. And I said through my tears….I am really going to miss you too.
After graduation….as in the same day… I hosted Thanksgiving at my house. We have had a lot of Americans on the farm lately. So it was hotter than blazes…but we had a very enjoyable evening hanging out together and giving thanks.
Since then I’ve had to say goodbye to my dearest friends in Swaziland. Ian and Dreshni Carmichael and their adorable children Skylor and Kaleb. They have taken me under their wing when I needed an escape from farm life. Let’s just say I have had a lot of couch time with Dreshni… coffee cup in hand. Saying goodbye to people you love not knowing when you will see them again is always hard. But I have a feeling our paths will cross again very soon.
After Preschool graduation I still had a couple of days to meet with my dear teachers that I trained and worked with. I love these ladies so much. Let me tell you…they work hard! They walk a long distance to get to school every day….then work their little hearts out. They basically are clean freaks and even if they get all their work done before its time to go home….they won’t leave school early. Me… You’ve done everything already…you can leave 15 minutes early if you want. Them… NO Miss Tiersa. Our time is up at 1 not 12:45.
They have a seriously amazing work ethic. And they are funny! Oh my gosh, we laugh so hard together.
There is a certain Swazi man that had taken a liking to me and boy did they run with it.
He would pop into the preschool every now and again to say Hi. Mind you he knows very little English. They love to tease me about it….so everything we did together…. they made about this man. Let’s say his name is Fred.
We are mopping the floors…they say…Oh Fred will like you know how to mop floors like a Swazi. Let’s say we are getting water from the river… Oh Fred thinks you are ready to come to his homestead…you know how to get water from the river like a Swazi. Let’s say cows are walking by the school….Oh Fred wants to pay many cows for you…Babe Kopp will be very angry that you are losing the farm money by not marrying Fred and getting him cows like a Swazi.
They go on and on… I always say….Stop it! You know I have a special friend in America. But like I said they just love to tease me. (They love Mr. Tim-o-thy too….They say to me….Eish…..This man I tell you…he is very handsome….I tell you…..He looks like a millionaire!)
Well they really surprised me by giving me a very beautiful gift. They gave me a beautiful Swazi dress with a headdress called a liduku (lee-doo-goo). I wanted a Swazi dress but I didn’t think I would have time to have one made. I don’t know what it cost for them to have it made for me…but I do know it probably cost more than what they could afford. It was a real sacrifice….this I am sure of. SO I put on this beautiful Swazi dress with the liduku. And let me tell you… I got lots of looks and smiles. Everywhere I went I was told Miss Tiersa….You look very beautiful.
And of course my teachers could not help themselves… They said…Now you look like a real Swazi…Fred will be ready to marry you since you have the dress and liduku.
I just was so blessed to work alongside these two amazing women for two years. So saying goodbye once again….SO hard. Cried my eyes out.
And every day it’s a new goodbye. Last night at Prayers I talked to all the children and the Makes on the farm. Letting them know how much I loved them but my time at New Life Homes is coming to an end. I was able to share that I hope to come back someday soon and how thankful I am that God sent me here. I told them how much I love Swaziland and my time with them. That I know God put His love in my heart for them. I wanted them to know I would never forget them and our time together.
Before Prayers I had a little surprise or as Tim likes to call it a “God Nugget” happen. I had a parent come for a visit. Her name is Make Dludlu and many, many blog posts ago I wrote about her and her family. At that time she was the headmaster of the school and her family took in her husbands, brothers, daughter when she was abandoned. (The brother was killed when the Mom was pregnant with her.)
Make Dludlu wanted to thank me for teaching her children….and then she said something that I really needed to hear. She said… You know Sisi… You have taught me something. You taught me how important it is to show love to our children. When European foreigners or Americans come to Swaziland…we always wonder why. I wonder…Do they want a slave? Do they want to make a lot of money so they come here because their government pays them to come? (This is a common misconception here. That the American Government is paying us to come to Swaziland.) But you….I know exactly why you are here. God sent you here to love our children. My children have never felt so loved by someone.
Yes I cried once again. Because now that’s its almost over… I started to wonder….Did I do enough? Did I fulfill my purpose here? Could I have done more?
And yet I know that is what God told me to do. Go love these children. Tell them I love them. Show them my love. Be my hands and feet to them.
And today as I was reading my Bible I came across these verses in Isaiah 55:8-11.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth; It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
God is in control. What He has deemed and said…. Has been accomplished here. I needed to hear that too. I can fret my life away or I can cling to this promise. God is God. He is Almighty. He knows what he is doing. I can be plagued with insecurity or I can believe in what He has done. He spoke it….it will not return empty. What a blessing to know that it has nothing to do with my ability or whether or not I did enough…. If God spoke it…It was accomplished.
I hope this can speak into your life today too. Sometimes we just think….its all about us…. What we did or didn’t do. But God says…My ways and thoughts are higher than yours.
If God has called you to something…stay faithful and know HIS purpose will be fulfilled. It may not look like anything we ever envisioned or how we thought it should go or turn out….but that’s not for us to say. God says it will not return empty. Stand firm in this promise. And let your doubts and insecurities go. Those definitely are not from God.
SO I had more goodbyes today. I said goodbye to my neighbors Tommy and Mandi Bottoms and their sweet baby Avery as they are traveling to the states to visit family for Christmas. I also said goodbye to Mary Jean Kopp as she is traveling home to help her family as her mother recently passed away. Yes lots of tears.
I have 4 days left on the farm. My last official goodbyes will be to Louie and Peter Kopp. After that I’m hoping I can dry my eyes out. But having wet eyes isn’t such a bad thing. It means I loved and gave a bit of my heart away…… That is a good thing because we know….
Love always wins.
Thanks for your prayers. Keep them coming!
I’ll be home very soon…