There is nothing quite like saying goodbye to family.
Living in Nhulunbuy for nearly three years has highlighted just how powerful family relationships are. Each time we return to Melbourne's eastern suburbs and spend time with our family, we are reminded by how much time has passed and how much people grow and change. Saying goodbye is bitter-sweet. The deepest relationships cause the deepest sensations.
Nhulunbuy is a very transient town. We learnt very quickly to savour each new friendship. We have met so many amazing people and said goodbye to many more. The young adults Bible study saw a majority changeover of people six times in the nearly three years. In December, we said good-bye to our dear friends Sarah Hayman and Sarah and John Stephen who have been in Nhulunbuy longer than we have. It feels like our family has just moved away.
Again in December, old family friends- the Hamburg family, moved to Darwin. Now we have family in Darwin too.
In January, our beautiful church family said good-bye to the Beath family who are heading to South Sudan. We met the Beath family very early after we arrived. It was not until 2015 that we felt the Lord leading us to explore home church together with the Beath family and with the De'Ath family. It was an intentional time of learning to be church family together and loving the community with the same love which says: you're my family and I want to spend time with you.
The longer we stay in Nhulunbuy, the wider our family grows. We have family overseas and all over Australia! We continue to resist those feeling of shying away and the fear of the sorrow of saying goodbye. Instead we practice the art of pursuing relationships. We are choosing to live with love and honesty in the present moment. The present moment is all that God has given us. Each encounter, each reunion, each hug, each goodbye, each moment is a blessing.
These pictures were taken when our church family set off on an adventurous trip of sailing to the Granite Islands for a picnic. These are moments never to forget with family we will see again!