We attended the MCC Europe-Middle East retreat in Barcelona, April 27-May 1. Cindy shared the following farewell reflection with the group on April 28.
I’m taking a special box home with me – an imaginary box filled with memories. After six years, the box has gotten pretty big!
As part of this reflection I would like to pull several memories out to share with you. I call them “a sample of Cindy’s memorable moments”:
- Lunches at the Jordan office with colleagues Nada and Suzi.
- Attending early morning services at St. Peter’s Seminary in Ankawa, Iraq. The singing of the young seminarians was heavenly. Having a beautiful singing voice must be a requirement for becoming a Chaldean priest.
- Conversations with articulate, passionate young adults in Tehran, Iran – persons like Hossein and his diverse group of friends. We enjoyed having lively discussions over tea or a meal.
- Meeting with Ayatollah Mesbah in Qom, Iran. He has such a fearsome and fiery reputation in the West, but in person he is an elderly and frail man who speaks into a microphone in order to be heard – even in a small group conversation.
- Attending Reham’s funeral in Smakiyeh, Jordan. Reham was an International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP) participant who was unexpectedly diagnosed with leukemia early in her term, returned to Jordan for treatment, and died about six months later. She was buried on the day she had planned to have a party to celebrate her engagement.
- Bassem’s wedding. He and Nora had a beautiful church ceremony on the Mt. of Olives, then a reception in Bethlehem. A Palestinian celebration is an amazing thing to experience.
- Accompanying a group of 10 Iraqis to Sarajevo for a workshop led by Amela and Snezana. The Iraqis were genuinely concerned: Was it really safe enough to go to Bosnia and Herzegovina?
- Water polo at Beit El Salaam – the former EME retreat location in Egypt. I never had enough courage to join in the fray, but it was an awesome thing to watch from a safe distance!
- A surprise party to celebrate my 60th birthday hosted by the Palestine team at Augusta Victoria on the Mt. of Olives.
- Singing and worshiping together each EME retreat.
- Lighting the candle at the beginning of each MCC Jordan staff meeting.
While sitting at my desk in the MCC Jordan office — working on the computer; writing and answering email; and writing and editing plans and reports – was a significant part of the MCC Rep position, you won’t find any of that in my memory box!
It is the memory of the people, places and relationships I will carry back with me – for this transformative opportunity I am deeply grateful to MCC. And just to be clear, you all are in my memory box. For the opportunity to know you and serve with you, I am also deeply grateful.