Saturday 30 April 2022

Saying farewell to Stockport (and England)

Saying goodbye is always hard. The children especially are affected by goodbyes. My daughter, Hannah was playing with a school friend of hers and came back very down and sad, slumped on the sofa, as she processed (in her 7-year old way) 'never' seeing her friend again. 

As a family, we are preparing to depart England for Philippines after a long Covid-restricted home-working season! This is the longest our children have spent in the UK. Usually when we visit Europe, we spend no more than a few days in each location. It's a very busy family time of speaking engagements and home visits. This time, because of Covid, it was much more grounded in one place and the children for the first time got to experience 'normal' English life. 

As the borders opened up in February, we had to make a decision, as a family - and in consultation with our mission agency, VDM -  when would be a good time to go back. It was decided that, because the children were in school and things weren't properly ready for us in Cebu, that we would wait until the end of Spring term 2022 (i.e. Easter break) to book our flight tickets. Well , it came about quicker than any of us thought and packing up our belongings, giving away stuff and shipping boxes takes its toll on our emotions. For me, now I've got the 'go' signal to return, I'm ready to say goodbye (nicely, of course) then go! After we've said farewell, I don't like to hang around for too long. It feels awkward and uncomfortable!  

When we left the Philippines in 2020. Like so many, we never expected Covid to last so long and the borders to Philippines to remain closed for so long. We anticipated returning in early 2021! 

Here is Becky's dad, Andrew, helping us get the final box packed up, ready to ship! 

Shipping boxes, known as 'Balakbayan boxes' take upwards three months to get to the Philippines, but are much cheaper than paying for excess luggage at the airport. Much of what we're shipping will be used for a book and toy library we're setting up to be used by those who are looking after survivors of OSEC (online abuse). Right now, as far as we're aware, this seems to be mostly kinship care (family), but we would love to see more foster carers recruited, especially among the Christians and supported by churches. 

This weekend we'll be visiting three churches: Trinity Church, Authentic City Church and Emmanuel Church. It will be a busy weekend, but we're grateful that so many people are wanting to engage with us and 'say goodbye'!

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