We were attending a two week training course before leaving for Indonesia. We would see them in the halls of the nursery as we each walked from room to room picking up children. I remember standing outside talking with them, being thankful for an instant connection with another family. They had their two children and we our four, and we chatted by the baby pool as the kids splashed and we talked of our future: ours in Indonesia and theirs in China.
I prayed, right then and there, silently in my heart: "Lord, I want them in Indonesia. They are meant to be there." I told no one but Jason.
One sold house, one positive pregnancy test, one "wait to come to China until later" and a whole bunch of prayers followed. Through twisty and turny stories of God's faithfulness, their plane touched down in Indonesia six months after ours. Her belly seven months swollen, two toe-headed boys clinging to mama's legs, and finally, we were together again.
For two and a half years we enjoyed their friendship and fellowship. We enjoyed trips to the beach, to Malaysia, to Jakarta. We enjoyed ice cream with the kids and PB&J sandwiches on the floor the day they left Indonesia. They were balm to our souls, in more ways than they will ever know.
And then God called them back to the US. My heart grieved. It still grieves for the loss. And yet, my heart rejoices that in the past three years since our homes have had different names, we have remained close. Emails, phone calls, visits. Our hearts have remained knitted together and I still selfishly pray for the day when we are reunited for the long haul.
Our families look different than they did six years ago. In 2008, there were six kids between us. Now there are eleven.
In a fun string of events, I was able to spend two days in their hometown. It was a totally different experience being with them without my family. With my kids not there to need me and to attract their kids' attention, I was able to truly enjoy their family all to myself. Games on the couch, long and unexpected hugs from their sweet boys, and lots of "Aunt Janet, watch THIS!" It was a blessing.
And then I got to watch them with my camera. The heat and the bugs kept our evening short, but still, my camera got to capture their love and sweetness and silliness. I am so blessed to know them.