When we first came to Cambodia, one thing I didn't expect to encounter was so much change. In Kansas, our group of friends was pretty steady, and also large. So when someone did move away or stopped hanging out with our group of friends, we didn't feel their absence so strongly.
But within months of coming to Cambodia, three families moved away, one unexpectedly. And in the coming month, one family and seven close friends are moving back to the States. Some will be back next year; others don't know the next chapter in their stories. And it's hard on us who are left behind. Although we can always expect new people to come here, I find myself needing to guard against having a hard heart - being afraid of or indifferent to pursuing meaningful relationships with people who may not be here 6 months later.
It also challenges me to think about who my anchor is. The family and one of the women moving away have been my main emotional and spiritual support here, helping me understand Khmer culture and how to respond to bewildering situations, and inspiring me with their faith in the Lord. Now that they are leaving, I'm not sure who I will depend on for that sense of family.