If I had a list of my life's most disliked tasks, saying "goodbye" would be at the top of the list. We said "goodbye" to Janice today. Janice is Jeff's aunt who is a missionary with SIM in Mozambique and has been on home assignment (here) and is now returning to her home in Africa (there). I got to know Janice quite well when we stayed in her home for nearly 2 months on our first trip to Africa and again a year and a half ago on our month long trip to Africa. She is kind and gracious, hospitable, generous, pleasantly blunt, and loads of fun. Over the last few months we've had the privilege of sharing many meals with her at the farm. I loved calling her up on our shared minute cell phones and seeing what her plans were for the next meal. Emma also shares a special bond with Janice and talks about her constantly. Even though she doesn't remember our trip to Africa, she clearly remembers Janice and can't comprehend that she will be gone now for a very, very long time -- probably until Emma is 6 years old.
People ask me often whether we plan on visiting Janice again in the future and I always say, "We'd love to!." With 2 children, a trip of that distance becomes increasingly expensive and difficult, but it is not impossible. God worked out the details for both our previous trips and we remain open to the possibility of returning for a visit and to help in any way we can. In the meantime, we will just miss her, pray for her and use Skype to talk to her more often.
Last evening Emma told me she wanted to fly through the stars in an airplane. Our conversation went like this:
Emma: I want to fly in an airplane tonight, okay?
Me: But you don't have a ticket to go on the airplane. Tickets are very expensive. Do you have any money?
Emma: I have lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of money to buy a ticket.
Me: Where did you get lots of money?
Emma: Grandma Sherri. And I already have a ticket to go on an airplane.
Me: How did you get a ticket? (I ignored the fact that apparently Grandma Sherri gave her lots of money)
Emma: On mommy's computer. I bought it. I want to go with Aunt Janice on the air plane.
So we see Emma's imagination is working quite well. Or maybe I should check my credit card balance just in case she did get on my computer and book a ticket to Mozambique. She is going to miss her Aunt Janice a lot.... and I will too.