Grief in the Goodbye

Right now I can barely catch my breath, for the sorrow I feel in leaving Brno.  I believe whole-heartedly that we've made the right choice.  It's the right thing to do, to care for my dad.  But oh, this uprooting doesn't feel right at all. 

Tonight Mark and I sat in a room located on Kamenna Street in Brno.  It's the very room in which we met our soon-to-be Czech pastor in June 2012.  It's the room where we have led Bible studies, taught English, strategized church planting, prayed with Czech church leaders.  Tonight it was the room where we said our first, formal, intimate goodbyes to our beloved Czech brothers and sisters at Betanie.  The elders of the church were so sweet.  Their support and understanding is perhaps what is most breath-taking to me right now. 

They thanked us.  They, who welcomed us ignorant foreigners with open arms, extended encouragement to us.  They, who trusted the Lord with the crossing of our paths... They, who empowered us to learn the language and culture... They, who allowed us to make relationships and develop ministry vision... They, who fully supported our endeavor to plant an international church, which should have begun this very month...  They, who love the Lord their God with all of themselves in a very spiritually dark and lonely place, sweetly prayed for us, allowed us to weep, and reminded us that God is good and in charge of all of this. 

Mark and I know full well that the thanks belong to them.  It is we who are grateful.  It is we who are indebted to the church in the Czech Republic.  She is small, but she believes and she hopes and her faith pleases God.  God is indeed at work in Brno.  And that makes this goodbye so very, very difficult. 

Romans 8: 28-30, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified."