I slithered down the last section of rail and came to a stumbling halt. Turning around, I gazed back up at the jagged green of the jungle mountains. The sun slanted through vines and branches and mists floated lazily between the peaks. Though the sun bean down mercilessly where I was in the valley, I knew up in the mountains a balmy breeze carried the earthy scent of leaves and damp stream beds passed my house, the clinic, and the school where I'd spent the last nine months.
Saying goodbye is never easy, but the bonds created by joy, pain, love, and friendship seemed to bind me deeper to the Palawano people than I could have ever imagined was possible in such a short time.
As I continued to gaze at the mountains for the last time, I thought of the countless miles I'd walked down steep trails and the many streams that had been splashed across. I thought of the smiles of my friends, the tears of a new orphan, and the giggles of the school children. I thought of the countless patients, the many injuries, ailments, and diseases, and the joy of a body made well through the healing power of God. And I thought of you, without whom none of this most eye-opening experience of my life would have been possible. How can I thank you for the prayers , the letters, the support, and the phone calls; all the many ways you gave of yourselves to help this dream come true. I know the sacrifice of time, effort, and funds that each of you have given and I thank you. I thank you not only for myself, but for each baby that is now living because it received medical treatment in time; for each child set free from the chilling grips of malaria, and for each mother who no longer has to look at the open sores covered with flies on the legs of her child.
Thank you for this unforgettable experience that you have made possible! May the God who holds each of His children in His hands bless you and draw you ever closer to Him!