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Bittersweet Goodbyes!

    I’ve taken a few months away from blogging as I’ve been focusing on rest during my sabbatical time (more about sabbatical coming in a future blog post). But now I really want to share more about my transition out of New Song…

    Many of you saw all of my goodbye posts on Facebook which led to a lot of messages and comments from everyone asking if I would no longer see my kids and teens from New Song once I transitioned into Abide. To clear things up, I will still be in the same small town of Chichigalpa. I will still be relationally engaged with my loves from New Song although I will no longer be involved with ministry at New Song through sponsorship, youth ministry or Sunday school. So, while I’m not physically leaving the area, it will still be a huge life shift. 

    I remember my senior year at King College. I had spent four years in this incredibly beautiful community and was preparing to graduate and move to Atlanta. Our professor and resident counselor, Chuck Thompson, talked to us one evening about the importance of ending well and saying goodbye. Twelve years later, that message is still deeply rooted in my heart…. Chuck told us: It is important to say goodbye to these relationships, not because you don’t plan to continue the friendships, but because this season has been significant in your life and it matters to mark the end of the season.

   My 7 1/2 year season at New Song has been a very significant season in my life. I have grown so much in my faith, passions, grace, and love. It has been transformative. And I wanted to honor that season and those relationships by saying goodbye and marking the end of our time of daily doing ministry together. 

   My final weeks at New Song were both beautiful and bittersweet. I am so excited that my dream for Abide is becoming a reality before my eyes, but it is also difficult to let go of a season of ministry that I love with all my heart. Those last weeks were full of such love, honor and celebration. 

   My first goodbyes were with my little loves in Santa Matilde. First I completed my Esperanza Renace group (pictured above) and the following week had my goodbye party with all of the Santa Matilde church. This village holds such a dear place in my heart! For the last four years, I have been spending every Thursday with these sweet little loves. I have fallen in love with these beautiful children and their families. Some of my most dear relationships have been built in this community. 

   My last Sunday at New Song was filled to the brim with love and tears as I went through several rounds of goodbyes. The first of which was with my precious Sunday school loves. I have been working with our Candelaria Sunday school since the beginning of 2011. I treasure the beautiful kids and have loved walking with them and seeing them learn about God’s love for them. Each of the classes helped their students to write letters to me saying goodbye. They were such precious gifts! One of my sweet fourth graders, Anabelkis, wrote to me saying,

“Lisa you are the best gringa. I am thankful to you for everything you’ve done for me. You supported me when I was going to take my [summer school] exam. You believed in me and thanks to you I passed and went to fourth grade. You taught me to never give up. And what you taught me was true. Thank you so much for supporting me. I’m grateful to you Lisa. I love you so much Lisa. God bless you.” 

  I was definitely holding on to being named the best gringa 😉 Their sweet words of love and encouragement are so precious to me! My morning was filled with hugs from tiny arms and feeling so incredibly loved. 

   As all of our Sunday school kids headed home, I met for the last time with my Sunday school teachers. I am so incredibly thankful for these teens!! They are absolutely amazing and it has been my joy to disciple them and see how much they’ve grown. I loved spending this last year raising Cele up into a position of leadership and I’m excited to see how they will continue to grow under her leadership. I had written letters to each of them just letting them know the ways that I see Jesus in them. After we finished our last meeting these beautiful folks surprised me with lunch. They had Lucia prepare a feast for us and then each of my beloved teens went around and spoke words of encouragement over me. They told me of the ways that they see Jesus in me and ways that He had used me in their lives. There were tears all around as we shared, encouraged and poured out love on one another (pictured below with my Sunday school teachers). 

   That afternoon all of New Song (all five of our churches) gathered together for a special service to honor my time at New Song and say goodbye. I cannot express how loved I feel in this place. We worshipped together, Tommy preached, the youth in Candelaria and Nuevo Amanecer had a chance to say their goodbyes, I was able to share with everyone how much God has moved in my life as a result of them, the community prayed over me powerfully and of course we closed out the night with a traditional Nicaraguan hug line. I love how this nation loves! 

    On top of all of my relationships at New Song, Jesus has blessed me with incredible friends who feel like family (like Cadence and the Ruiz family). They fill my heart, refresh my spirit and just make my life so much more fun! 

   This season has been so significant in my life, my faith and the development of who I am. And I just want to honor and celebrate the incredible relationships that made it so meaningful. I am forever thankful for my time at New Song and grateful for this beautiful life that I live! 


  1. I’m sure you will be missed by everyone at New Song and it will also be hard for them to fill your shoes. You have made a huge difference in those children’s lives. What will you be doing at Abide??

  2. I’m sure you will be missed by everyone at New Song and it will also be hard for them to fill your shoes. You have made a huge difference in those children’s lives. What will you be doing at Abide??

  3. I’m sure you will be missed by everyone at New Song and it will also be hard for them to fill your shoes. You have made a huge difference in those children’s lives. What will you be doing at Abide??

  4. Just got around to reading this. I remember that exact talk from Chuck as well. Powerful. Still sticks with me today. Transitions are hard (because it’s closing one chapter) and simultaneously beautiful (because it’s starting a new chapter). Continuing to pray for you, friend, as you journey through the various chapters of your story, and I remain so grateful for the relationships we developed at good ol’ KC!

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