In less than a week we return to the red soils and warm winds of Uganda after this, our first return to the UK. We say farewell to chilly Spring mornings and beautiful blossom and the ceaseless shout of the ocean. It will be two years before we experience those bountiful blessings again.
These weeks have been simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting, peaceful and painful, fun and frantic. I speak for us both when I talk of those moments when we have felt utterly overwhelmed by the love of everyone we have encountered on this trip. Hugs from relative strangers and longstanding friends, gifts from regular supporters and anonymous donors, a feeling of absolute comfort and connection with every church into which we’ve stepped. If, in our busyness, we didn’t express to you how much love we have for you, our friends and our family, then know that it is beyond words. Never have I felt the realisation more clearly that this journey is not something we do alone, but as a part of a larger whole. You, beloved reader, are a part of that whole, and we would not be here without you, packing and preparing for our return trip.
Saying farewell for the second time will not be easy. Our dear family and friends, you know who you are, we will miss you. Leaving you is an almost physical pain, and once again we are thankful for the wonders of technology that allow us to experience, from a distance, the growing of families and the passage of precious moments. What a strange sensation, knowing there is so much to miss here, and yet feeling the pull to return to the land of our mission and our calling, to our budding friendships and our church and MAF families. Parting is a sweet sorrow, but not so great as wondering, “What if?” What if we’d followed God’s command to see where it would lead? That is not a question we can leave unanswered. It’s an oft-quoted sentiment, but truthful in its repetition – we don’t regret the things we’ve done, but the things we didn’t do.
In a few days we’re going home, but we’re also leaving home. We are children of two homes now, with such a great love for both places. Uganda, we are coming, and we long to see you again. UK, we may leave you behind, but you are never far from our hearts.