Hey there everyone! Thank you SO much for all of your prayers and thoughts on Hannah's anniversary. I just know it makes a huge difference in our ability to make it through the hard things and even find joy in them to by thinking about the future that all of us who follow Jesus have in heaven! I think it just feels good to make it through August 2 - especially this year being here in Indonesia.
It was a busy weekend because we celebrated Dave's birthday on Saturday, and then Hannah's anniversary on Sunday. I think having things planned really helps because it gives us a sense of "control" in some ways that we're not completely at the whim of the day. After praying about it, we decided to ask our friends the Holstens if they wanted to come over and celebrate Hannah's anniversary with us. David and Natalie were here back when we were here before (back in the day!) and have been serving here ever since. So they knew Hannah, and their son Carter was a good friend with Hannah. Now they have four children (Carter, Grace, Luke and Zoe).
David and Natalie brought over some pictures of Hannah that they had from back around 2001 or so. It was neat to see them, and to talk and share about our memories. We remembered how Hannah and Carter used to play "brother and sister", and how Hannah became very interested in amphibians because Carter was. I am amazed sometimes at how many things I have forgotten. So it was special to remember together. Dave and I were reminiscing how Hannah used to not want to kiss him goodbye in the mornings so she would run and hide in the rolled up tikar (bamboo mat), right in the middle of it! Funny.
After sharing memories, the kids colored pictures in honor of Hannah (we ended up with a lot of butterflies) and then we went outside and released balloons together. I love doing that on her anniversary. It's so simple, yet there's something very symbolic about letting the balloon go and watching it go up to heaven. Dave reminded us that all of us who are in Christ will get to be together again someday. Some days I can live in that as a reality, and other days I find myself dwelling in my sadness. I know I'm only human. I do ask God to increase my faith so that I can live more days walking as if it were reality that I will see Hannah again. Not that I don't need to be sad - I think it's a fine line to balance our grief and be honest about it, but temper it with the hope that we have in Christ. For when I am really believing that this life isn't all there is, I find I am much more full of joy and confidence in the Lord.
One other thing I enjoyed doing was going down to MAF on her actual anniversary and sitting in the airplane that's dedicated to Hannah. (see picture above) It is special to me to have something that actually represents her here. I wondered how many stories have taken place in that airplane and how many people have been helped by it. It was special to have a tangible place to go to and something to touch that represents her here in Indonesia.
So, be encouraged everyone! This life isn't the end - someday we will get to be with our King, the Lord Jesus. But until then, I am so thankful for all of you and your prayers and your friendship. God bless you.