This weekend we had all of the women from Vida Estudiantil sleepover at our apartment (21 en total). We made homemade pizzas and ate and played cards and talked and laughed and watched a movie. When we woke up on Saturday morning, one of the women, Viviana, led us in a devotional on Psalm 139. After sharing thoughts and asking questions, Ana Lucia prayed for us. As we stood in my dining room, holding hands in a circle, praying, something about it made me cry. As I listened to Ana thank God for this community, for these women, for His love grace and mercy, I started to cry because something about it felt so divine. I was soaking it in, knowing that I will never be able to recreate that moment, this year in Uruguay, this life.
When I think about leaving on Thursday the only thing I can compare it to is leaving my dorm in Pioneer Hall after my freshman year at the University of Minnesota. Emma and I stood in the empty dorm room and hugged and cried (hello, dramatic) even though we had plans to see each other in a few days, even though we knew we would be living together again in a few months. I think it was because freshman year in a lot of ways, changed everything. It was totally new, something we had never experienced before, and we came to know Jesus in a new way that year. We experienced real Christian community and began to really understand His great love for us through people we now call best friends. We started to see Him at work in the details of our lives and in the lives around us. To me, this year feels similar because everything is new once again. Never before had I experienced life in another country or full time ministry or being so far from family or friends and God has shown up in so so many new ways. I have come to know Jesus in a new way as I talk about Him daily with students, as I worship Him in a different language, as I continue to read His Word and walk with Him. So even though I know that I will be back in a few months, I’m sad leaving because I know it will be different when I come back in August. The city won’t change and the things I love about it will remain and my wonderful friends will still be here to come back to (Gracias a Dios), but I will have a new team and new expectations and things will definitely be different. It will be different the same way that sophomore year was different from freshman year at the U of M, because in a lot of ways that first year changed everything, and this year has too.