A Love Letter on Parting

I remember that time you told me, you said  
"Love is touching souls" 
Surely you touched mine 
'Cause part of you pours out of me  
In these lines from time to time.
-Joni Mitchell, "A Case of You."

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart . . . 
-Paul, Philippians 1:3-7a

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy, giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
-Paul, Colossians 1:9-12

I'm sure you'll pardon me if I get a little dramatic and/or maudlin in this post. For those who don't know, I have been working in Vancouver, Canada, since February 2, 2010, and I am leaving in just a few days, on December 18, moving home and then to parts unknown. Some highlights of my time here*:

1. Arriving just in time for the Olympics:

2. Becoming acquainted with Iranian customs:
Haft Seen - a necessary component of the Persian New Year

3. Learning to live on my own:
My apartment

4. Figuring out the wonderful world of public transportation:

5. Going to the National House of Prayer in Ottawa and getting to go to all of the capitol buildings:

6. Foods of the world:

7. Incredibly beautiful country:

8. Family visits:

9. My favorite city in the world:

10. Unforgettable friends**:

Dear Canada,
You have been the venue for so many things God has taught me: deeper reliance on Him, a greater understanding of my brokenness and need for grace, the need to pray for laborers for the harvest, how to love other people, service to the unlovely, washing dishes to the glory of God, who I am away from Memphis, how to live in community, how to communicate through conflict to find solutions, and so many other things. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, and I long for the day that the lonely hearts of Vancouver finally connect with the only Love that will fill them. I wish you peace and safety. I wish you wholeness. I wish you abundant life.

You have become a home to me, and a place of many firsts. I will never forget being welcomed into Canada at the National House of Prayer. I will always remain grateful for the opportunity I had for my life to intersect with so many others. As I thank you, I am really thanking the God who sent me to you, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn some Farsi and some Arabic, to serve in community centers, to become a welcomed, beloved member of Peace Portal Alliance's Young Adults community. I am grateful for the opportunities to grow through difficulty and to develop relationships with non-Christians and learn sincerely to love them. I am grateful for countless moments of laughter and connection with people I would otherwise never have met. I am grateful for the hard lessons and the pain of loneliness that forced me to grow. I am thankful for having to learn the Big Story of Scripture to share it, and for having a community that listened. I am thankful for individuals who reached out to me and loved me through my joys and griefs, through my silliness and stubbornness. I am thankful for the ways I have seen God at work--sometimes taking years and years, moving from country to country to woo a person to Himself. I am thankful for His promises that sustain me when I do not see His work.

O Canada, thank you for letting me live here. Thank you for welcoming this rude, obnoxious American with grace and humor. Thank you for allowing me to have a Canadian family. Thank you for teaching me to hope after years of despair. Thank you for teaching me "yet." In my heart, you are irreplaceable.

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.



*Not an exhaustive list. 

**Also not an exhaustive list.


Cindy E said...

Awww - I didn't know it was time for you to leave! Lifting you up, gal! Can't wait to see what awaits for you!

Cindy E

Jennifer said...

Thank you, Cindy!

Anonymous said...

Jen, I know that this season in many ways has gone slowly and in so many others, this season has flown by. I'm so thankful to have been able to pray you through this season, and I look forward to what He has in store. I'm truly thankful that He sent you to Cananda, and that He is now moving you someplace else. You're always welcomed here with us in S.E.A. Love you, sister. Robin Cole

Jennifer said...

Thank you so much for praying for me--and for your grandmother praying for me! Love you too!

Ian Ng said...

*Brotherly Fist Pound*

-Ian N.