The last ten days went by just like that, in a blink of an eye. We thought we couldn’t make it. But we did, eventually.
We had volunteered to be homestay hosts for foreign delegates who prefer to stay with local families for the upcoming Kingdom Invasion Conference, back for its fifth run.
At the end of February, when we received news that we were gonna host a Burmese couple in our house, we felt a sudden wave of panic – our guest room was in a complete mess! Screams*
Throwback to about a year ago, our guest room was still in a pristine condition because we were always waiting in eager anticipation of our favourite Aussie mate to come live with us whenever he was in town to do business.
No, it’s not like he comes bearing expensive gifts or pays us handsomely for the use of our room. But he is a very good friend, a close brother who showed us kindness when we were students studying in Brisbane, Australia many years before. And whenever he comes, it was more like for us, a chance to pay him back – to return him that same kindness that he had so lavishly bestowed on us.
Anyway, around this time last year, we received a text message from him saying that he was in the final stage of cancer. We were in shock and utter disbelief! He was only 42. He had a great family – a very loving wife and three sons, a booming business. He had his whole life ahead of him! How can this be? And our initial shock quickly gave way to helpless indignation – life is so unfair!
Despite the initial prognosis, we hoped against hope that things would turn around! That somehow he would miraculously be well again. We couldn’t bear the thought of losing him, not seeing him around anymore in our house – a place he affectionately called his “home away from home”.
Our dear brother was called home on 4 September 2016.
Since receiving this shocking, sad news from his cousin, we did what we could to bury the memory of this dearly beloved brother. It was a sense of loss so deep we could neither articulate nor deal with. We filled our guest room with boxes and bags of things to overflowing. Before long, our guest room became more like a store room – a legit excuse to close the door and let it stay shut.
That is, until we were challenged to open the door to our guest room again, to host visiting pastors and missionaries who’ll be needing a roof over their heads for the duration of this annual healing conference.
So about ten days ago, after receiving word that we’d be hosting a couple of Burmese pastors, my husband and I launched into this massive clean-up operation. We threw away bags upon bags of rubbish, got rid of old clothes and basically anything and everything that didn’t bring us joy anymore.
This would have been Phil’s way of doing things as well: stop moping around, clean up the mess and move on.
Thanks Phil, you’ve taught us a lot about life. We miss you heaps!