Memories, laughter and a flood of tears

Missionaries Chris and Lynne Strange experience a wave of emotions in saying good-bye to their beloved Banwaon friends.

Chris and Lynne Strange were heading into the village for the last time.

“It’s hard to even type,” Lynne shares. “We found it difficult to think about it and we dreaded it for months. Our throats close up and tears spring into our eyes before we attempt to control them.”

“God fills our lives with good, no—excellent—gifts,” Lynne Strange writes, “And they are almost always about people. Well, the best of them are.”

And Chris and Lynne were dreading the most difficult task they have ever faced as missionaries. After years of loving and living with their Banwaon family and friends, it was time to say good-bye.

“We know it will be in Heaven when we next greet some of these brothers and sisters,” Lynne shares. And so Lynne and Chris prayed that God would enable them to adequately express to the Banwaon people how much they mean to them and “how we would carry each of them in our hearts no matter where we might live on this earth.”

Lynne says they were working on plans for their final journey back to the village when both of their computers squawked the word that they had incoming messages. The messages were all about the news that their Banwaon friends had taken up a collection for a Pogsalamat (literally means “thanking God”) celebration with them.

Lynne says, “The news stunned us and then sent us into a flurry of activity. Suddenly we had to shop and weigh and pack everything they ordered for a big celebration. We were on full tilt!”

Flight plans had to be changed, chickens had to be ordered.