To be honest, I was cleaning in order to find it. I was thinking of all the good-byes this year - Messers, Joy, Narinari and now Ghents, Matthew and Angela - and I remembered the letter.
Missionaries in Aomori Prefecture 1989
Its not just the STWs (blink and they're gone!) JETs and English teachers (who go in and out like revolving doors) and missionaries (they revolved a lot, too - until it got down to just Ghents and us!) and pastors and friends who leave us .... Even our little congregation has completely turned over - there's not one person who was here when we started. Of course we started with 4 old ladies - 3 of whom are dead now - and two young men (gone away to the city.) Sometimes after another round of goodbyes I would start to get that "Elijah" feeling: "I, only I, am left."
When I finally found the letter it was really rather understated: "It was SO GOOD to see you again... Afterwards I wondered if my greeting had seemed out of proportion to how little we saw each other - even back in the "old days" when we used to bump into you so often. But somehow it was such a relief to see you again - so many people come and go that sometimes it seems that everyone is gone."
Where ever you are Todd Leonard... I miss bumping into you at Hirosaki Mr. Donuts on cold and snowy Saturdays.