I could tell so many stories of saying permanent goodbyes and truly expecting to never see that person again, yet here are a few that we did end up seeing again.
Back in the day…It was 1979. Jan and I had been in Nigeria for ten years. We were moving to Liberia to start a new work. Six years later I said goodbye once again to my friend and colleague, Bulas Ali, who had taken over our work in Nigeria. After sixteen years in Africa, we were headed back to the States to take up a new career. Each time I thought it might well be the last time I would ever meet him this side of heaven. Less than five years later he was on a six-month sabbatical in the United States. I had a chance to introduce him to the art of rabbit hunting. In 2010 I was on a trip to Nigeria totally unrelated to our previous work and found myself eating food in his compound.
I could tell so many stories of saying permanent goodbyes and truly expecting to never see that person again. In 2016 our house steward and his wife, Filibus and Tabitha Usman, from Nigeria, speaking literally no English, came and stayed with us for two weeks. I had promised that we would pay for his trip if he was able to obtain a passport and visitor’s visa, both of which I was sure he could never accomplish. We had said goodbye in 1979. After multiple rejections, he obtained a ten-year multiple entry visa. Thirty-seven years later they were our guests in Michigan.
I graduated from Michigan State University in 1968. One of my best friends and roommate was John Dunham. My wife and I left for Africa. Two years later we returned on leave and attended his wedding and met his wife Ruth for the first time. That was the last time we spoke and saw each other…until August 22 of this year, 47 years later. There is something very remarkable about sharing a life event(s) and then coming back together to relive, recount, and remember what had long been forgotten. Every person I have had a relationship has built something into my life.
My intention is to have many deep and life-long relationships. This means making an investment of time, energy, and even money. Jan and I have had the unique opportunity to meet dozens, if not hundreds of people around the globe, most of whom I probably will never see again in this life except when it happens.
My plea is that our short connection, whatever it might have been, was the start of what can, could, and may well be, the best thing that ever happened to both of us. If a donor, you are never a donor but a partner, if you are a part of our team, you are not just a colleague but in a blossoming friendship, if you are a recipient of what we do here in North America or in Africa, Asia, or Central America, you are part of our family. It is a good thing that there is an eternity because I need that time to build deeper relationships. Words are inadequate to express what your relationship has and continues to mean to us, however short.
Lou for the Business Connect Team
We value you, your friendship, your work, & your investments in us & our kids.
Hello, Lou! It was so good to get to know you at the “course” on money management where you became a coach for us to develop better money habits. Our life has become a little more complex since then, but we are still trying to live and spend the way God wants us to! I know about some of the other programs you are involved with – keep up the good work, and we will try to keep in touch!
Hito and Sally Akehi
I almost stopped on my latest USA tour, but zoomed by you on my way from Calif, Oregon & Idaho, towards Connecticut. Will also stop in DC on my way to my 50th Reunion at Ga Tech in Atlanta. Nice piece in your newsletter.
Love your reflections Lou… most of all we love counting you and Jan as very special friends!!
Brenda and Rex
Lou and Jan,
I love your commitment to relationships. Bill and I are glad to be in your circle. Thank you again for coming to Indiana in the midst of snowy weather for my sister’s memorial service.
Our love and higest regard to you and for you,
Will look forward to your blogs, wise advice, and funny moments that you will share. Just consider it hiking through the pages of time.
Perhaps there are some folks like me who you would rather not see this again this side of heaven. There I will hopefully be sanctified.
I hope all is well in your new endeavor. It sounds like you are about to tell stories??!
Here, I am about to go in for some surgery – getting rid of the right breast which they is at stage 2. No fear, just OH SO EAGER to get back to TZ!!!!!
POlease give my HI and Love yous to Jan as well.
God bless you, friend, Peace and love to you both
Carolee Uits, Growing Communities
Congrat Lou for your retirement. Welcome to new life after retirement back on the African continent where where water is a double-edged sword:disease carrier(surface water for most people) and life sustainer.
Thank you Lou for changing my life. Your intention is to have many deep and life-long relationships.
You said you had an opportunity to meet dozens, If not hundreds of people around the globe, most of whom you probably will never see again in this life except when it happens.
And I want to tell that I will see you again asap.
Blessings to you and Jan with Yours.