Saying Goodbye

Joanna Fullner

READ : 1 Corinthians 3:5-9

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (v. 7, NIV)

These words were so encouraging to us as we prepared to leave China and the people whose lives we had briefly touched. Some of our students had become believers. But mostly we tried to clear away barriers to belief and to plant seeds. We tried to show God’s love in many ways—class topics, cultural lectures, conversations, discussions, and just by our lifestyle. Someone else, we pray, will come along and water and nurture these small seeds of the Word. But it is only God who really makes growth possible.

We may never really know the impact we had in China. It’s impossible to remain emotionally detached from the hundreds of students we have taught, so saying good-bye is always difficult. We have a file box full of index cards—one for each student—with the student’s photo on it. We pray that each one will find the true meaning of life and discover the God who loves them. One student gave me a small gift and said, “I very love you, Mrs. Fullner.” Emotion choked my voice as I whispered back, “I love you, too.” How can we ever forget them?

PRAYER

Dear Lord, bless each one of our students. May they someday know how very much you love them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.