There are lots of coming and goings around here.
With a station full of missionaries, there is usually someone leaving for or coming back from home assignment, what we used to call "furlough." This week my roommate Becky headed out for a four month speaking tour that will take her across the USA. That leaves me to look after the house and the boys (Brutus the Wonder Dog and Pete the Chicken Cat). Beck, I will try to keep everything from falling apart while you are gone! I've got maintenance on speed dial.
We also have all sorts of volunteers who come to Kudjip: medical students, doctors, physical therapists, maintenance and construction and technical folks, teachers, business and finance people, and more. Some are here for a few weeks and others are able to extend their stay to a few months. We all enjoyed having Alan and Lynse Bock here for the past six weeks. They are graduates of Mount Vernon Nazarene University, where I come from. Alan is a 4th year medical student at Ohio State and Lynse is a high school teacher. These week we welcomed Hannah, a PA student, and Sid, a nurse anesthetist. I actually met Sid before I came to PNG. He attends one of my LINKS churches and he volunteered his services when he heard me share about the hospital. Hello to Cove Church of the Nazarene in Copperas Cove, Texas! Thanks for sending Sid our way :).
Today we said goodbye to Tom and Lois Staton, annual volunteers who have just finished their 9th visit to PNG. Tom is an ENT (ear, nose, throat) doc. He provides specialized care that is not usually available to our patients. He also helped to cover the surgical service while Dr. Jim and family took a much needed vacation. This year Lois was able to share with the women at the district "Meri Bung" or women's meeting. Her story touched the lives of many PNGian women. Lois also loves on the missionaries, hosting weekly teas for the women and having each missionary family over for dinner. They have certainly become part of the Kudjip family.
We have a tradition for saying goodbye or "see you next year." All of the missionaries gather at the sign in front of the hospital for what we call "circle time." We circle up and have a time of thanks and prayer for those who are heading out. There are a few pictures and definitely lots of hugs. The kids and some of the grown ups pick flowers and shower the vehicle as it start's down the drive way. We all raise both of our hands and wave until the vehicle has turned out of sight. (Warning... when you get to the airport, don't brush the flowers out of the vehicle and onto the ground or you may be fined. I am speaking from personal experience. Ridiculous, but true.)
With these comings and goings, many new friends are made and the Kudjip family continues to grow. The goodbyes are not too sad because it really is more of a "see you later." We are not just members of the Kudjip family, but also the family of God. So to my new friends... if I don't see you before, I'll meet you in heaven under the sign that says "Papua New Guinea."