Sunday, October 24, 2004


Well, here's what's happened to me over the last few days. If you remember from my dreams post, I had "laid a fleece" (basically asked for a sign from God) to show me whether or not I was supposed to return to Iraq with the Company. Their plans were that we would not return as a group until after the Iraqi Elections at the end of basically, not until at least mid-February (they would have to give it a few days to make sure that there wasn't renewed violence, etc. post-elections)...which meant that I would return about two weeks before my term ended and would spend my remaining time twiddling my thumbs in Jordan.

The "fleece" that I had laid down was that He would smooth the way for my return with the Company. I had a task that I could do in the country (another co-worker has been allowed to return to do this same task), all that I needed was the ok of the Company. Well, word came down yesterday that the answer was "no." As I'd asked God for a clear sign of His will, I can't really complain that it didn't go my way, but I was obviously...well...heartbroken.

My choices at that point were to finish out my term sitting in Amman, going to the mall, eating at McDonalds, and studying the language; or to go home and probably finish my Master's degree. Well, the way I figure it, I can go to the mall, eat at McDonalds, and learn Arabic (even from Iraqis) in America _while_ finishing my Master's degree. Not only would _I_ probably make more money, but I would also be saving "Aunt Lottie's" money for...well...other things.

Anyway, my bosses and I were going to take 24 hours from when I spoke to them yesterday (3PM-ish Eastern, 6 Central, the rest of you are on your own) to decide if that was the proper course of action for me. It didn't take quite that long before I was completely freed of any feelings of regret for leaving the Company a few months early.

I will be returning to Baghdad tomorrow to take a few days to say goodbye to all the people I can, pack all my things, and try to get someone to buy all of the gifts that I was going to take a month to think about what they should be and where I should get them and who I should buy things for, etc.

Right now, I think my primary feeling is that I'm overwhelmed. I had expected to take about two months to find everyone, say goodbye, pack, buy gifts, etc. I have to somehow compress that to less than two days. Additionally, I have to get through the grieving process somehow at the same time.

I don't think I can explain how much I love Iraq and the Iraqi people. How much I was looking forward to another Thanksgiving and Christmas there. To another winter and the beginnings of another spring. There are so many people that I won't be able to say goodbye to (like my family at the school, all of the headmasters, in addition to all of the other people I know from other places). So many places I wanted to go, things I wanted to do, promises I wanted to fulfill. It breaks my heart to leave, especially so abruptly.

My heart is breaking. Please pray with me that I will be able to accomplish a year-and-a-half's worth of goodbyes in two days, in addition to packing. Pray that God will protect us according to His will while we are in Iraq. Pray that I drink enough water over the next few days that I don't get dehydrated from crying so much, because this is killing me.

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