Did you know that one of the things we do the most in the mission field is say goodbye? When we leave the states we say goodbye to everyone and everything that is familiar and comfortable. When we go back to the US we say goodbye to our friends in Curahuasi, some of whom will not be here when we come back. Everyone who comes to visit or to work with the hospital or school . . . we say goodbye to them. Sometimes it is no big deal. They were not people we knew, they came for a month, and then they left. Other times it can be very hard. Last night we had our last dinner with Allison’s dad before he left today after an extended visit. Peter was real quiet at the table, not saying anything. Noticing and suspecting that something was wrong I asked him if he was tired or sad. He didn’t say anything and just started to cry from the expectation of “Abo” leaving. Today, all the kids hugged their grandfather goodbye in Cuzco. Afterward, Peter came to me for a long hug as he buried his head in my arms. We got in the car and all the kids eyes were red filled with tears, Annie and Peter especially crying, while Allison and I tried to find some happy music on our iPod to keep from being swept up in the melancholy. The scene has been the same every time family has come to visit. Grandparent visits are the highlights of our kids life here, and the pleasure of their arrival is equaled by the sadness of their leaving. And I think saying goodbye here is different than saying goodbye in the states. It feels more permanent as your friends and family feel so far away. And although our kids may not be able to explain it, they certainly feel the difference. Unfortunately, coming soon is the departure of every other American family living in Curahuasi. This is already being processed by our kids as they realize that all their current American friends are leaving! Allison is processing that her very good friend Konika will leave soon. You dive in quickly to friendships in the mission field, and then you say goodbye just as they are reaching their richest point. So remember us and pray for us over these upcoming months as we say goodbye to so many friends, and remember us in prayer over the next couple days as we get used to live without a grandparent in the next room.