Contrary to popular belief, I'm a really shy person, and speaking in front of people, even our team, scares me half to death...
Last night, as I finally finished unpacking, I was thinking about our last night in Moldova, when we went to eat and bowling. After the guys spoke and told their stories, we had a chance to say something to them in return. Dima kept trying to get me to stand and say something but I wouldn't budge. So, as I sat on the floor in the middle of my room last night, I got distracted by once again looking at my pictures, and they got me thinking. I thought about what I would have said if I had found the strength and courage to actually stand up and say something. I think it may have been something like this:
"I go on trips like this every year, each year telling myself that this is the year that I can not attach myself to people because I know I will just be hurt in the end. This year is different. At the beginning of the week, I came to work not form relationships with anyone, but that changed. I saw my sister forming friendships and realized that I did not want to be left out in the cold, so I did the same, not knowing how much you guys would change me by the end of the week. After the first flower from a napkin to the last water balloon thrown at me, I knew that I had formed bonds with all of you that will NEVER be broken."
(I then would have said something to each of the guys individually)
"Ivan: You are like the brother I never had. Sure, I have a brother, but I never see him, so you have filled that void in my life. I wish the best for you in all that you do. I know that I can always call you a friend and nothing can change that. I know God has a big plan for your life and I'm so glad that I've gotten to be a part of it."
"Dennis: I loved watching you work with my dad and Tripp this week. I am so glad that I could share Tom with you and everyone else. Tom is a special man with an even bigger heart, so to see him love and praise working with you, gives me such a joy being his step-daughter, for I know the love he gives me is being given to someone else as well. God will take care of you, and know that you will never be alone in this world, you have a bunch of people who love and care about you now."
"Ruslan: What can I say about you...you have one of the biggest hearts out of the many people I have met in my young life. I have loved watching you grow this week into a man with so much compassion for the world and people around him. God will use you in so many ways that it just awes me to think about it."
"Dima: I loved getting to know you this past week. You're so full of life, and you have so many great things ahead of you in your life...I know my mom loves you like her own, and my family all feels the same way. I wish you the best in all that you do. From my first flower you made me, I knew you were someone who would forever change me as a person. Although we don't speak the same language, I know that I can talk to you about anything, just find me a translator, and you have proved that this past week. In what way God will use you in this big world, I don't know, but I know it will be awesome when that time comes around."
"I am so blessed to have met each of you and the other guys, and I am so humbled to call you my friends. You may be half a world away from me, but distance is just a number, friendships last a lot longer than any distance. I love each and everyone of you, and wish the best for you in your life. I know in my heart that I will see all of you one day again."
It really hit me last night just how much of a bond I had formed with each of these guys. Like I said before, from the flowers, to the water fights, water balloons, to eating lunch everyday in the same spot just to get away from everyone and get the chance to become better friends, the friendships I made last week, have a lasting impact on me, and that has forever changed me.
And that's what I would have said...