My parents have been here visiting us for the past three weeks. This morning, they boarded a plane to head home to Detroit. It’s been a wonderful visit, and we certainly packed a lot into the time they were here — from celebrating the holidays, to taking them to see some of the sights around Quito, to a five-day trip around Ecuador, which included a visit to Kumanii, Operation Ecuador’s jungle lodge and outpost on the Cayapas River.
Last night, we all gathered at my sister’s house to say our goodbyes. We drank chai and ate Christmas cookies, sang a few songs, and had a time of prayer. Josh asked us to pray short prayers of thanksgiving or blessing. The kids all participated and said some very sweet prayers. Then my dad went around the room and blessed each one of his grandchildren. It was a precious time.
It struck me this morning that my parents have somehow managed to visit us in every single home we’ve ever lived in since we got married. That’s pretty significant when you consider how much Rusty and I have moved around in the past 13 years! From our first home, a cramped Japanese apartment, to our current abode, this spacious house in Quito, and everything in between, they have seen it all. It really speaks, I think, not just to how much they enjoy traveling and seeing new places, but to their desire to be active participants in our lives and to create lasting memories with our children.
When people visit (and this is true of anyone, really, not just parents), they are giving us the gift of their presence, the gift of being better able to visualize and understand our life, and thus the gift of knowing better how to pray for and encourage us. I think this is why missionaries love to have visitors from “home”. Yes, it’s a sacrifice — a sacrifice of time and money. But it is also one of the best ways folks back home can demonstrate their care and support.
And if they manage to squeeze a few U.S. goodies into their luggage on the way over, so much the better! 🙂