Monday, February 27, 2012

Farewell to our Namibian Friends

I haven't been able to find our card reader, so I've got a backlog of posts.

Our friends Gapi and Lothe have been preparing for years to return to their home in Gobabis, Namibia. They came out here to attend school, and they've both worked so hard with work and school to gain an education, which will help them become self-reliant when they return home. Lothe worked often two jobs to pay her husband's way so he could attend school to become an EMT, which is a very well-respected career in Namibia.

During their pursuit of an education, an uncle recommended they move to Pullman, WA because, "It is a good place." In Lothe's words, "This was a good place for our family, because it is where we learned about the Gospel of Jesus Christ." I was blessed to become her visiting teacher after she and Gapi had been members for only a few months.
They made so many changes to their lives, and we were able to witness so many miracles as a result of those changes, including their baptism and temple marriage. While many of their Namibian friends partied, drank and wasted their money and time, Gapi and Lothe turned away from all of that, and carefully planned and worked for their future. Their daughter, Hope is a little sweetheart, and the joy of their lives. Her name is so fitting for their family and the hope that they will be for the missionary work in Namibia.
They asked Josh to take these family photos of them before they left for a keepsake of their time here.
They called his photos "treasures".

The week before they left, they mentioned that they would try to stop by to say goodbye. Knowing how busy things get at the very end before a move, I didn't bet on seeing them.
However, around 8pm when we were already dressed for bed, a knock came at the door! They had to be awake in about six hours to drive their car down to Utah to see some friends. Hope was already drooping and promptly fell asleep where she sat. The kids jumped out of their beds for a chance to see "Gapi and Lothe and Hope" one last time. We talked about their plans and their fears and their first impressions of our country. They said the most shocking thing was the weather. Where they have lows in the 60's, our winters were miserable. They are looking forward to the heat and the sun!

It was so strange thing saying goodbye to these friends. Although our paths crossed relatively briefly, they made a big impact on me. I would look at them and wonder if I would have their strength, both emotional and spiritual to do what they did. Most people you say farewell to, you know that there is a pretty good chance your paths will cross again, but I'm not sure we will ever see Gapi and Lothe again in this life. That was strange as I gave Lothe one final goodbye hug. It gave new meaning to the hymn:

"God be with you till we meet again."


Trish and Matt said...

We've had close friends like this so I can understand how you're feeling about saying goodbye. They sound like such a neat family. I'm sure you had as much of an impact on them as they had on you!

Dianna said...

What a great opportunity to be a part of their lives and their conversion story! I wouldn't be surprised if you see them again. You and Josh might go on a mission to Namibia someday, who knows?