June is the crying month over here.  The gate at Aviation is the last place you see your friends before they get on a plane.  Living the lifestyle we do here, friendships grow very deep, very quickly.

Statistically 1/2 of your friends are replaced every 7 years.  But those statistics don't take into account living overseas in a tight-knit community.  The stats feel much closer to every 4 years.

For us, it's not even June yet and we've had our share of tears.

-The graduating seniors from high school, often leave for good (aka 'finish').  Sometimes their parents go with them, sometimes their parents return.  Often you're not only saying goodbye to your best friend, but also a beloved teacher, or family friend, or confidant, and always co-worker.

-People who live together here, in the same place, often return to very different places.  You can visit from time to time, but life moves on, and a visit isn't the same as living next door.

The crying month is a month of goodbyes, and 'I don't know if I'll see you again on this earth, but I will in heaven' sentiments.

And it happens every year, every June, and sometimes it impacts the Owens family more personally than others.  This particular June is a hard one.

-We are leaving for 1 year.  We're excited to see family and friends in the U.S. but it means we will be saying goodbye to friends here.
-my son's 3 best friends will not be here when he returns.  This is tough as they've been very close.
-my father-in-law is gravely ill and we've been informed he's in the hospital, so our hearts are being torn... 'do we stay, do we drop everything and go now?'  It is very hard to know what to do.

If we leave now, my son loses 28 days with his 3 best friends he'll never see again, my wife's job at the school drops into sudden chaos, the house needs to be quickly packed up, we need to pack furiously, and my daughter won't finish her exams.  Notice we didn't mention the cost of changing non-refundable tickets?  You don't count money at times like this.

But if we don't leave, and something happens, my wife will never forgive herself.

My wife is very sad, my daughter is trying to hold it together for exams, but she's very emotional (about grandpa), my son flits between 'I'm okay' and 'I'm angry I don't get to see my friends any more'.  And the entire family is in transition back to the U.S. with expected culture shock, and not knowing exactly where we will call 'home' just yet.

So we have tears in all directions right now.

Pray for us please.  When the tears come, I firmly believe (and maybe I'm too traditional) that the dad, the husband, (me) is the rock of the family.  When everything in life seems totally uncertain, and it's all falling apart around you, the man in the house, has to be the reliable, steady, strong one.  He's the one to lend some reliability, some strength.  He's the well rooted oak you cling to when everything is being blown away by the hurricane.  The only way I am able to do that is because God is the true foundation.  He's our oak, and I'm asking him to lend me strength during this time.

I ask you to pray that I can be that for family.  I ask you to pray that my wife and I will make wise decisions right now.  I ask that you pray for my kids that they transition well.  I ask that these next few days would go well, but primarily I would ask that my father-in-law would pull through, get better, and be able to go home, so that we can spend some time with him!

thank you for praying for us.
-on a side note, we almost never pray that God will make everything better for us, nor to take away suffering for us.  Instead we pray that God would enable us to endure well whatever comes our way and be able to be praising God before, during, and after it.  However we do pray for the relief of suffering for those we love.