One last, teary hug and the cab door was slammed shut.
Eric & Lena drove off to the bus station to begin their journey back to Russia. I had a great 10 days in Russia with Lena and other dear friends. It was wonderful to walk the streets of my former home town and hear the stories of what God is doing in lives there in Russia.
From there, several of us took a 7 hour bus ride to Tallinn, Estonia, where I lived 1994-95. It has been amazing to go even further back in time, see old friends, and hear about all that has transpired since serving in this city.
There were no full-time staff with our organization back then. During that year, Maria – one of the students, applied to join staff. It has been amazing to see her here, not only having served in Estonia, but helping to run a multinational conference for staff from all over Western Europe. Maria is gifted in administration and details. She is constantly flitting about serving others…. and she does it with a smile. Her life is an example of fruitfulness.
I am so grateful that I have gotten to call so many breath-taking places “home.” The thing about making a place home, is that you plant your roots there. You make friends, find community, you belong. It is a wonderful result of a long, hard process. It takes time and patience. When that time comes to an end, it often happens quickly and with trauma. Severing your heart from deep connections, from “belonging,” is full of grief and pain. Then the process starts all over again somewhere else. All the scenery and characters change…. except for you and God. It can be lonely. It hurts. But it also provides the perfect “soil” for pressing into The Vine.
Steve Sellers is one of our organization’s most respected leaders. Today, when referring to his personal experience with John 15, he made the statement, “The Vinedresser gets to choose when He cuts and how deeply He cuts.” I can feel the truth of that statement as I sit in my hotel room alone, my room mate on a bus back to Russia.
Returning to Russia. Coming back to Estonia. It has been so sweet. Seeing dear souls that my heart has missed. The hard part is saying “goodbye” again. It doesn’t get easier.
I am so glad the Vinedresser knows what He’s doing and does it with skillful, loving hands. I am also glad that He is also the vine. While I am pruned, this little twig can cling tightly to Him!