Posted by: macahajo | May 6, 2017

The CABIN in Cameroon

It’s been a long time since my junior year at Naperville North High School. But I still remember the excitement I felt when May came – the end of the school year was drawing near! There were all sorts of special events and activities. I knew that I would see my close friends throughout the summer months, and pretty much everyone else in my class of five hundred – I’d see again in August!

But, Hannah’s junior year looks a lot different. (Different is okay. It’s just – different.)

Hannah is thinking about her friend, Laura, who is a couple years younger than she is. Laura will leave Cameroon in June, and she will go to Canada, her passport country, with her family for a year-long home assignment. After Hannah graduates next year, our family will leave for our first home assignment, and then Laura will return. So, this June, Hannah will say goodbye to Laura, not knowing when she’ll see her next. This is not an uncommon situation in the missionary community.

Hannah has several close friends in the 12th grade – friends who she’s had since we arrived in Cameroon. They will graduate in June, and like many of my former high school class-mates, most of them will go to university. But, Hannah can’t look forward to seeing her friends over a long weekend, spring break, or summer vacation, like I could. Her friends are going to schools thousands of miles away – Kenya, Maryland, Illinois, Georgia, and NewYork, while Hannah is in Cameroon.

There is an acronym that I learned recently that encourages missionaries and their families who are not leaving, to stay well, in the face of many good-byes and transitions. The acronym is: CABIN. Since we are staying in Cameroon, we are visiting the CABIN more and more these days.

Consider the memories – David wrote in 1 Chronicles 16:12, “Remember the wonders he has done…” The Lord has given our family countless memories here thus far and sweet times with friends. We need to take time to remember special moments with friends when memories were made.

Sometimes memories sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks. – anonymous.

Acknowledge the losses – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pastor and theologian wrote, “There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so; one must simply persevere and endure it.” There is real grieving that happens when people leave. When a dear friend of mine told me that she and her family were leaving Yaounde and not planning to return, I went home and cried! We need to allow ourselves the freedom and time to grieve. Tears are okay. Luke described when Paul left the people he loved in Ephesus, “And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And then they accompanied him to the ship.” Acts 20:37-38

Bless those who are leaving – What can we do to bless those who are leaving? Pray for them, see them off at the airport, host a farewell party, give them a special good-bye gift, invite them over for a last meal together, or write a note, expressing how thankful we are for them. Little things  mean so much, and it’s important for us to take the time to bless those who have a special place in our hearts.

Invest in your community – Though sometimes it feels like it, not everyone is leaving. We need to think about who is staying and consider how we can invest in them. We also can anticipate the return of missionaries who went on home assignment last year, for example, and will return this July! We can invite a “stayer” or the returning missionary over for a meal and games, host a movie night, have coffee together, watch a young family’s children while the parents go out on a date, or plan a special outing together.

Nest – My friend Wendy said that she talked to her kids about making a safe place in their “nest” for new friendships. There are always new people coming to the mission field in Yaounde, Cameroon. We need to keep our hearts open to the possibility of meeting a new friend.

Every new friend is a new adventure… the start of more memories. – Patrick Lindsay.

We appreciate your prayers for our family in the upcoming weeks, as we spend time at the CABIN in Cameroon; as we prepare to say goodbye to some friends who have become so special to us. 

In Christ, Cathy Lynn

 

While we are staying, some of our friends in Cameroon are leaving. While we are at the CABIN, they are RAFTing. Read more about them RAFTing here:  https://africansandinourshoes.com/2017/04/08/rafting/


Responses

  1. Hello Cathy and Mark; (well macahajo really) What a great message you have offered as Hannah, and indeed your entire family go through noted transition in the next month or so. I couldn’t help but relate to all those having moved several times — many times very distant places thousands of miles away with absolutely no reason to see friends that we had made again. In fact, many have felt no need to contact us even as we have tried to retain a line of communication with them. But CABIN certainly helped even us put things in perspective and reminds us that He, who controls our very life, can remove, but yet replenish that which we hold dear. True friendships are never terminated; they simply take a hiatus for refreshment, replenishing and renewal of our hearts. Mary Lynn and I continue to pray for all of you — new positions, new challenges, new friends, all the while keeping those you hold dear close to your entire family. May God richly bless you all as you serve in a unique and challenging part of the world. lynn

    >

    • Hi Lynn,
      Thank you for your note, and thanks to you and Mary Lynn for your faithful prayers.
      You brought up an interesting point – in this whole process of transitions and good-byes, there needs to be some thought about how to stay in touch with ones we love.(There are SO many ways to do that today!!.. Skype, Face-time, Viber… the list goes on of how we can stay connected!) The relationship will change, but there are ways that one can show that they are thinking about their friend or praying for them, despite the distance that there may be. It is a hard thing for some people (like me) when one who I thought was a dear friend, doesn’t seem to make any effort to stay in touch. But, some people are really good at it, and others are not. It’s not that the one who doesn’t stay in touch doesn’t care, he or she just might be the kind of person who is better at investing in those around them, face-to-face.
      May the Lord give us grace and understanding in our relationships, and may we be more intentional in keeping in touch with dear friends who He put in our lives.


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