Tuesday night was the annual Staff Appreciation Dinner. Departing teachers and staff are honored and we celebrate all God has done during the year.
This is always a very difficult time of year for us. Each year we lose at least half of our staff. This year 17 teachers (out of 30) are leaving permanently. Most teachers come for just a year or two....3 years is considered a long time. We've been at HOPAC 5 years, and next year we will basically be the "senior" staff on campus--those who have been here the longest. (We just got the very sad news that our very loved Biology teacher and his wife, who have been at HOPAC 11 years, had their work permit renewal denied by the government).
It's emotionally exhausting to say good bye to so many people every year. Probably what's even harder is thinking of the 19 new staff who will be arriving in August and will need "seasoned" missionaries like us to invest in them. But it's part of life. There just aren't as many people any more who commit to missions as a career. We are SO thankful for each teacher who comes here--they fill great needs and really impact the kids. And we've made some incredible friendships over the years.
Emily, Steve, Denae, Richard, Nicola, Marie, Melissa, Brandon, Rachel, April, Julie....and more....we will miss you so much! (and Janelle...you'll get your own post!)
But on a happier note, Carley, Brandon, and Amanda (who I know are reading this!)--we are SO THRILLED that you are actually RETURNING to HOPAC long term and we can't wait for your arrival!