Hard goodbyes.

Well, we're in the Phnom Penh airport waiting for our flight to Thailand. We spent the last few days in Phnom Penh wrapping up our affairs and taking a few precious hours to reconnect and then de-connect from the kids and staff at our four Prek Eng orphan homes.

Last night was full of more hard goodbyes. Perhaps the most difficult was Prek Eng 2, which is sponsored by my home church, Central Vineyard in Columbus, Ohio. These kids were among our first in Cambodia, and have a special place in my heart. I know all of their names, and can tell you about each of them. I miss them whenever they're not around. I feel responsible for each of them, pastorally and parentally.

We ate dinner with the staff and then stuck around for another hour or so to hang out with the kids. We played soccer and danced, trying our best to ignore the obvious fact that we would be leaving. At about 8:30, we announced to the kids that it was nearly time.

The kids and staff gathered around, hugging us and clasping our hands. "Please don't go," some of the younger kids pleaded. It took about ten minutes to get about 20 feet from the front of the house to the gate. About half way there, the tears began to flow. 

Srey Ka, an older girl who had become Xiu Dan's special friend, knelt on the ground and buried her head in Xiu Dan's shoulder. Soriya turned her face and sobbed. By the time we reached our car, even the oldest boys were crying. Don't tell anyone, but I think my boys were as well.

Sheesh. This is hard.

I've never been less ready to leave Cambodia. My family has had such an amazing time here. I don't want to leave the kids. I don't want to leave Sony and Savorn. I don't want to leave the staff.

But Thailand -- and a lot of work there -- awaits. I know that I'll be ready to embrace that portion of the trip just as soon as we land and are greeted by our staff. I love the kids in Thailand immensely. I may just need a few hours to recharge my emotional batteries. They're seriously drained.