Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Neighbors Gone!

Well, our neighbors are officially gone. It was a whirlwind month and though there were times I thought I couldn't handle another day with our particular neighbors, it sure went by fast looking back! I accomplished most of my goals on the list of how I could bless them 30 ways in the final 30 days. We took the girls and their cousin who was visiting to a Reformation party at a local church on Halloween night the night before they left. That was an adventure, but they had fun! They loved their photo book and the Spanish/English Bible I gave them, although I have no idea if they will keep it and read it or not.
We have enjoyed learning about their culture, swapping foods and cooking lessons, and we hope to visit them someday and enjoy some time in Porta Villerta (I know I probably butchered that spelling!) someday since they live very close to there. They actually plan to be back to our town in 3-6 months for another couple years of saving money while in America so we will likely see them again soon, though not as neighbors.
God definitely put them into our lives, and vice versa, for a reason and we know that we learned a LOT from the friendship and trials. We pray that they come to know Him and that we were used of Him, even though there were times we didn't perfectly show His love to them as we should have.
But for now, I am breathing a sigh of relief that my kids can play outside more without being hit, hurt, or learning bad behaviors and words, and that our hallway won't be littered with garbage endlessly, even 5 minutes after I've cleaned. I'm thankful that I won't have endless knocking on our door and running and screaming up and down the halls during the kids' naptimes. We can now put outdoor toys outside and not have to worry about kids scratching our van, taking the kids bikes, pooping in the yard, and coloring on everything in the back yard with a permanent marker.
It's funny because to the very last moment they left they were asking us for favors. They borrowed our plunger and asked us to call the manager for them a few times and they gave my hubby $20 and a roll of screen and asked him to repair the screens their girls shredded with a knife. In their parting goodbye they even left us a school library book to return for them. We did get a few of the girls' nice toys though (a scooter, a toddler bike, some little odds and ends).
The sad thing is that when people don't discipline their kids, it really hurts the kids, as well as the parents. The kids don't know how to get along with other kids nicely, don't know how to handle authority, and grow up with foolishness bound up in their hearts. The parents are more exhausted and overwhelmed dealing with the lack of control over their kids, and the kids have insecurity in the lack of boundaries. These were wonderful little girls who were very sweet on the one hand but very, very destructive and manipulative on the other hand. Even the apartment handyman said, "They were clean people. The kids were out of control but at least they left their apartment very clean." (Said while checking out their apartment after they moved.)
So, there were lots of lessons learned and I was stretched and challenged to grow in being a neighborhood missionary and in loving difficult people. I breathe a huge sigh of relief and thank the Lord that we are moving on to a new stage. Though life is never easy and we have no idea who will end up moving in, it should be much better for our children from now on!!!

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