Like many of you, Jared and I are not strangers to long distance relationships. We met in Hungary and "dated" while I lived in Ohio and he lived in Missouri. During his stint in medical training, we spent months apart while he trained in various places and once in Ghana, Africa. I think we'd agree, though, that there is a difference between keeping in touch with your significant other and keeping in touch with friends.
So many of you have been great examples to me of how it's done. I think of friends from Wales, Hungary, California, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, childhood, college, Taupo and from all our other phases in life that are still dear friends to us today. Sheesh, we move around a lot.
If you really want to test a friendship, move half way across the world. Now I realize it's impossible to keep in touch with everyone. And that's okay. Some friendships are meant for a certain season in life. But there are definitely some friends that you connect deeply with and want to carry with you no matter where you go.
Moving around the world, having young kids, homeschooling and living in the opposite time zone from family and friends back home has made all long distance relationships a challenge.
Although it's a challenge, it's been an amazing encouragement to us too. I wanted to write this post as a shout out of appreciation to our family and friends who have kept in such good touch and been intentional at loving us from a distance. I loved receiving Christmas cards from so many of you last year! (Please keep it going this year, we have a new address.) It was a blessing having your smiling faces hanging in our doorframe. Some of you have mailed us amazing care packages marking special holidays or just because-thank you! Letters are still so special because we don't receive much mail here other than the occasional bill, so when there is an envelope with a "par avian" sticker on it, we get excited! Those of you who have gotten up early or stayed up late so we can catch each other on Skype, thank you! I love seeing your beautiful face and don't love staring at my own :) Thank you for remembering us and our boys and reminding us of your love.
We have gone through challenges here adjusting to living in a new place and starting new, twice. Receiving e-mails, personal messages, and special mail have reminded us we have a support team with us no matter how far away we move. The verse in Proverbs 17:17 comes to mind, "A friend loves at all times."
One more shout out needs to go to my dear friend Karen. I know that the trip here is not an easy or cheap one. It is impossible for many of you and I totally understand. It is SO awesome that both sets of our parents have been able to make the trip. To have a friend make the ridiculously long flight and go through the hassles of an international trip is far above and beyond what I expected and was SO appreciated. Not only did we have a blast exploring and hanging out, but Karen also served us in so many ways through washing many dishes, playing with and taking care of our boys and showering us with love and encouragement. We love you KK!
Thank you again for your long distance friendship. I am working hard on this end to initiate and respond to you. We love hearing from you.
P.S. I promise to feature you in a blog post slide show if you come visit us :)