Last night I was hanging out with Leo for the last time. We’re sipping tea, the conversation is dragging, and I ask if Leo and his friend want to play cards. His friend seemed excited, but Leo could could only muster up a “sure, if you guys want to.” It was obvious something was on his mind. So I asked him what he wanted to say.

Leo has proven to be one of the most honest Asian guys I’ve ever met. If given the opportunity, he is willing to talk about anything, down to the most personal matters. He once told me that he had been avoiding coming to our meetings, and at that time I hardly knew him. So I didn’t know what he was going to say last night. I just waited for him to come clean.

“I don’t know why I invited my friend to come tonight.” His friend is sitting right there. “I really don’t know why. I guess I thought if there was another person here, it wouldn’t be so sad. You’re leaving, and I thought if it was just the two of us, we would talk about you leaving.”

You know, it is sad. I’ve cried out to Father for these guys. I’ve talked to them about the nitty gritty. I was there when they became a brother. I challenged them to step it up. Now I’m leaving in just a few days.

But something else is true, too. Leaving can only be so sad if being here was so good. You cry when you separate from FRIENDS, not from enemies. So this is happy sadness. By Father’s grace, we’ve made true friends and made a real impact. Leaving is sad, but would I want to leave not feeling sad? Not a chance.

Good news! Last update I wrote about Jeremy, a good friend whose parents lived in the epicenter of the quake. Up to that point, he had not heard from his parents and had no idea if they were alive or not. A full four days after the quake, he finally got a call from his dad saying they were okay. He couldn’t talk long, because it wasn’t safe to be in buildings, but he said that they had food and water and were alright. Thank you all for your prayers and expressions of concern.

Jeremy is not yet a family member. A day or two before he heard from his dad, I got a chance to pray for him and his parents on the phone. When he told me the good news, he thanked me for lifting him up and said that Father answered the prayer. I was really glad I took the chance to lift him up like that.

Until next time….