|A newborn baby girl that (in spite of Susan giving her CPR for an hour) did not survive|
|Nosem, the boy who committed suicide on July 4th.|
|Etike, the boy who drowned, with his family (top left in the yellow shirt with red collar and beautiful smile)|
|Atipz, our sweet friend who committed suicide on August 29th.|
There were so many times this year that we were overwhelmed with grief and loss and confusion. So many days that we had to pray ourselves out of bed in the morning. So many days that we had to remind each other to just breathe.
But each day defined by pain was also drenched in God's tender mercies and loving comfort. Every tragedy brought us closer to our co-workers and closer to our Hewa friends. The cords in the rope of shared suffering are substantial and not easily broken. And I know that is what God wants for all of us. I know He took this ugliness and made something new and beautiful with it. I was once again assured that I can trust all things in His hands even grief, loss, and death.
So I think we as a community were happy to say goodbye to 2013. And the crazy, happy, silly, and very very dirty New Year celebration was just what we all needed to let go of the burdens this past year dumped on our shoulders and look forward to a new phase in our lives and relationships together. To look forward to what God has for all of us in 2014, no matter what that is.
This is a small glimpse of what that looked like...
Thank you Lord that there is a time for joy and a time for pain. And no matter which time we are experiencing, you are there with us.