December 2018 by Joel McGee
|Amy, Carmen, & Joel McGee having family time in Arequipa
I’ve always hated goodbyes. I’m not sure why. I just don’t like saying them. But, ever since we moved to Peru 4 years ago, our family has experienced a constant series of goodbyes, hello’s, and see-you-soons, and the separations just seem to get harder each time. 2018 was especially full of separations.
Amy, Carmen, and I spent the first five months of 2018 in Arequipa, Peru, attending language school. This gave us some much needed family-focused time and helped us to stay strong during the many times we had to be apart. This was beneficial because during those months of language school the pastors in the jungle still needed to be encouraged, and their relationships with each other and with JungleMaster still needed to be nurtured. This meant I had to make several trips from Arequipa to the jungle. To keep costs down, I usually traveled solo, leaving Amy and Carmen behind in Arequipa. Goodbyes had to be said. Separations had to be endured.
In May I was called home to Bellingham for a month to help take care of my Mom and Dad who were, and are continuing to be, dealing with health issues. Another goodbye to Amy and Carmen. Another separation. Then, in August, Amy and Carmen flew to Arkansas to be with Amy’s family during the time of her stepdad, Pete’s, passing. Amy and Carmen would end up being gone for just over a month, helping Amy’s mom. Yet another goodbye. Yet another lengthy separation. Even so, we felt so blessed to be a part of a mission that understands the importance of family and enabled us to fly home to help in these times of need.
Having to say goodbye is hard. And having to be separated during stressful family times is never easy. But in spite of our struggles on a personal level this year, God continued to advance the ministry of JungleMaster. And God was faithful to provide us with encouragement in our times of need. Amy, Carmen, and I are so grateful for the amazing family and friends He has given us. They have kept us strong and able to continue doing the work God has called us to do here.