Probably every missionary in history can agree that one of the hardest things about it is when tragedy hits your home country and you are not able to be there.

We awoke Saturday to the news that there had been a terrible bus accident involving a junior hockey team on the prairies. Western Canada is big in size but not in people. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who knows you. And when it comes to hockey…everyone knows the teams. Did we know everyone on that bus? No. Did we know anyone personally on that bus? No. But we do know the culture, the people, the small towns the kids came from and the country that revolves around hockey from the time most kids are 4 and old enough to strap on skates to the time they pass away. That date is supposed to be a long way down the line…when they are very, very old.

This tragedy took the lives of 16 people ranging from 16 yrs old to 42 and older (I haven’t been able to find out how old the driver was).  14 died at the scene, another one day later and yet another today. I am so thankful the Head coach was a strong believer. I believe he would have told the team often how much Jesus loves them and how He wants them to accept Him as their Lord and Savior.  I assume a lot of things…I probably shouldn’t, but I do. I have to. I can’t understand any of it just yet. Perhaps I never will.

This could have been any of us at any time driving across the massive expanse of Canada’s prairies.  This could have been any of our kids on any sports trip. We all live so far away from other venues.  We trust the coaches and drivers and everyone else on the roads to get everyone safely to their destinations. We trust because otherwise we would all stay scared in our homes. We must live. These kids were living their dreams.

I feel like maybe this hurts just a bit more than it would in Canada because we cannot grieve with those who understand. We cannot don our jerseys and set out hockey sticks on the porch without having to say a word and know others understand. We hurt from afar. We hurt so very much. And we pray.