A Powerful Goodbye – by Maddie Smith [Repost #2]

The first attempt to post this from the train last night did not work. Hope this one does.

Author: Maddie S. is on her second trip to Russia, traveling with her mother. Her father went to Russia on the October trip and is home with her younger brother this spring.

Saying goodbye is one of the hardest things to do. It becomes even harder when you have to say goodbye to children who change your life everyday over the course of one week. Today after a discussion with Galina and her forever giving staff who work side by side with the children each day, the most amazing gift I got to experience through this whole trip was the goodbyes.

I am not very good at saying goodbye and today I was faced with hundreds. I asked my translator today during lunch how to say “see you soon.” I learned these simple words in Russian to use instead of saying goodbye. I didn’t want to feel the pain and have the tears from last spring while saying goodbyes. This trip I had hoped to not have tears and pain with leaving but the gift that the children, Galina, and caretakers gave me today was something I hadn’t been planning for.

We had just finished our last meal at the orphanage that the fabulous staff prepared for us again. We were told to say our final goodbyes to the children that have become our “buddies” through this powerful week. The group gathered their coats and boots to begin to leave the orphanage and board the bus one final time. Many hugs and words of inspiration were spoken to kids as we were walking out. The translators had already begun to leave the building and board the bus while we were finishing the goodbyes inside.

The feeling I felt when I opened the doors to leave the orphanage was indescribable. I felt blessed and honored for those children who think so highly of their American friends. All of the caretakers including Galina and the children were gathered outside surrounding the building leading to the bus. I stepped outside with Kendall and took one look at the crowd gathered wanting to hug us and hugging us goodbye. I was blown away with how much we meant to our new family that was formed this week. I was thrilled to know that we have touched so many lives and they received all of our love and thoughts.

With Kendall and the rest of the group behind me, I was thrilled to walk and give amazing hugs to the very special people in my heart that will be there forever. The hugs I gave and were given made me realize how much these children across the globe have touched not only my life but also Christ Church and the family behind that. I took away many things from these special goodbyes that the group I traveled with was that we are part of the family in Russia and they are part of mine.

Dad: So, next spring would you go to Russia with me?

7 thoughts on “A Powerful Goodbye – by Maddie Smith [Repost #2]

  1. Great post, Maddie! The trip sounds like it was amazing and beautiful and unforgettable. Travel home safely with everyone and give Kendall, Kate and Craig a hug from me!

  2. Thanks to all of you for the amazing work you’re doing there. I know that the love you have shared will continue to be passed on by others and make a real difference in the world. So wonderful!

  3. Thank you Maddie for helping us at home see how the “goodbye” was a blessing you offered each other with a promise of “we will see you again soon.”
    Thanks for witnessing for all of us.
    suzanne hultman

  4. Thank you for reposting your special message. How telling that you wanted to say “see you soon” rather than using the finality of the word “good-bye.” The sentiments and emotions you expressed in your departures at the orphanage were poignant. Those bittersweet exchanges were powerful building blocks in love and faithfulness. “…God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Cor. 9:8

  5. Maddie, we (Max, Phil, Aunt Jenny and Dad) enjoyed your post very much. In fact this is our second comment on it, as the first one appears to be missing. Thank you for taking the time to share your story, especially near the end of the trip. Your words are so powerful for those of us that stay behind. God Bless you (and Mom (Patsy) and the whole travel team). Safe travels. We cannot wait for your return. Love Dad, Max, Phil & Aunt Jenny

  6. Maddie I am so glad that this trip was a moving as the first. I have told your mom before that I think it is great what a beautiful girl you are becoming. And when I say that, I mean from the inside – the place that really counts. Those kids and caregivers do love you as much as you love them. The whole church is praying for them and God always shines through.

  7. So glad you have the opportunity to go and experience anothers way of life. Who grows more, the visitors or the people of Russia? Both, it is obvious. Love you with all that I know how. Grandmother

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