"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more because the previous things have passed away." Revelation 21:4"
Sometimes life throws you an unexpected curveball. My intention was to write about our time in Ireland, share a bit about what I learned about the 'trouble' between the Central Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and brag on how the Lord is opening doors with the Northern Ireland Bible Society for Trauma Healing. Instead, while in Ethiopia, I had a phone call that turned my life upside down. My Aunt Tammy unexpectedly passed away on September 13th, very likely of an aneurysm at the age of 60 though she had some other health issues as well. She is a walking miracle as the Lord spared her from an aneurysm in 2011 and gave us 8 more years with her. Instead of leaving for Kenya on September 16th, I instead returned to the US, thankful we had finished our main ministry obligations in Ireland and in Ethiopia before the call.
There have been times through my years in ministry that I did not return for various emergencies. And I know these are some of the hardest decisions missionaries have to face. But I knew without a doubt I needed to be a support for my family. It is a complicated situation that would warrant way too much detail than this newsletter but the short end is I have a very close relationship to this family member, who is also the mother to my half brother, Shaun. Plus, after just finishing facilitating a lesson on Grief, how could I not be with my family during our time of grief?
The viewing and funeral have passed and now the real work of grieving begins. In case you have not experienced this journey, I have put in a picture of what the journey looks like. It takes about a month to work through denial and anger, which is where we are currently at. The praise? I had the honor of sharing the Gospel and baptizing my aunt in 2012 so though we do not despair, as we know she was welcomed by our Lord, our hearts still hurt for this current burden and it does not lessen the journey we are on.
In the years I have been traveling, there are a few times going to the airport that stand out. The first time was February 2010 when I had visa challenges in Zimbabwe and unexpectedly had to leave. I sat with Rumbi going over last-minute instructions as she was stepping into the ministry on her own for the first time. She kept leaving for the bathroom to keep her emotions private. When I got to the other side of immigration, I wept and realized how much Zim had become home to me. The 2nd was July 2013 when I realized people sitting next to me had no idea of the trauma we had experienced, the sleepless nights, the nightmares and the fear. I understood then that you truly don't know what people on your flight are going through. You just put on a brave face and hope no-one talks to you. The 3rd time is now when my travel plans have changed and I returned to the states due to her death-full of grief and heartache.
Next newsletter I will share more about Ireland and Ethiopia. In the meantime, please keep praying for my family. And have compassion, grace, and kindness for the people at the airport and planes. You never know what someone might be going through.
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Misty Bodkins has a Master's degree in clinical psychology. She has worked both stateside and internationally doing counseling, training, teaching, and research. Her passion is working with people who are in crisis.