Until we sit under the vine in addition to fig tree . . . .

Today a goodbye to my two dear friends was disguised as a birthday party for Liana, who graduated a few days ago via high school in addition to takes off for America in a couple more.  We sat around the table at a very nice restaurant, dressed in our best, circling to share 18 things we love about Liana as we reach the end of her 18th year, sampling each additional’s food, toasting in addition to reminiscing.  As we got ready to leave, Karen was so intent on being sure we had a not bad hugging goodbye which ONLY THEN did the idea hit me, This specific can be the end of an era.  Not only Liana, nevertheless Karen in addition to Bethany are leaving.  How did This specific happen so fast?
Michael was one particular guy engineer in Bundibugyo in our early days within the 1990s, who went back to the USA in addition to proposed to Karen (best move of his life) then brought his bride to be our neighbor.  We have walked through pregnancies in addition to deliveries, evacuations in addition to decisions, school in addition to church, vacations in addition to ministry together for over 20 years.  Bethany joined us within the early 2000’s in addition to has been part of our teams or working while studying via the US or a bit of both for the last 15.  Uganda, Sudan, in addition to Kenya.  Countless prayer meetings, walks, insights, care.  When we moved to Kijabe I never likely to get these two friends back in my daily life, nevertheless the war in South Sudan in addition to the needs at RVA in addition to Moffatt Bible college in addition to the friendships we held in addition to our kids’ lives meant we became team mates again.  Even moving to Naivasha they have been intentional faithful friends.  I am 17 years older than Bethany, in addition to Karen can be just about within the middle of us, nevertheless we feel like close classmates or sisters, with different personalities in addition to gifts nevertheless similar joys in addition to motivations in addition to goals.
currently the Massos are beginning a long slow transition to juggle the needs of all their kids in addition to family, which will see Karen spending more in addition to then most of her time based in Philadelphia with Serge.  Bethany can be heading back to start a PhD in clinical psychology at Fuller, with research in community based resilience-building for trauma care.  Their lives continue to arc with ours in commitment to the marginalized of East in addition to Central Africa, in addition to in connection with Serge.  Still, the idea can be the end of one era, one which seems quite pivotal in our life.  
In college we gathered our own “Africa Team” having a vision for serving together.  A few of us did, nevertheless over the decades I’ve seen God’s grace in building His own teams in addition to bringing amazing people into our lives (in addition to us into theirs) to show us more of His love in addition to grace.
Here’s to friends who stick with you over the hardest times of life, in addition to to life-long commitments in spite of distances to come.  In church This specific morning our leader read Zechariah 3, a vision I don’t remember noticing too much before, nevertheless the scene can be Heaven, in addition to Satan can be accusing a man named Joshua who represents Israel.  God steps in to rebuke the accusations in addition to personally provide clean clothes in addition to a promise which points to Jesus.  in addition to the sign will be “In which day declares the LORD of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine in addition to under his fig tree.” (v. 10) . The defeat of evil can be pictured as a picnic within the shade of grape vines in addition to a fig tree, sweet abundance of food in addition to fellowship.  which’s where we are headed, in addition to I have to believe I’ll see more of which in This specific life with these two, in addition to in eternity unending.

Until we sit under the vine in addition to fig tree . . . .

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