I believe the answer comes down to relationships. It is the relationships that we had with the children that we miss most. Not the scenery (actually we didn't see a lot apart from the village and jungle), not the food (I admit to expressing relief when I arrived home and Son#5 informed me we were out of rice - although I do miss the freshly picked mango, pineapple and papaya), not the climate (a little too humid for my liking most days), and not the laid back aspect of the trip (must have missed that while we were busy assisting with teaching several grades a day).
No, it was the children. Children with beautiful faces, happy smiles, huge hearts and even bigger hugs. Children who came from a variety of backgrounds, many of them where the term 'dysfunctional' doesn't even begin to describe the heartache they have suffered. Children who completely and solidly stole our hearts.
And not just the children. Teens, and older persons who showed such amazing courage and resilience. Who opened their hearts to us and humbled us with their love and trust and showed us who the real spiritual giants are (and it wasn't the Westerners).
And it is because of these relationships that we long to go back. That we desire to take our family back because we can picture how our sons and daughters-in-law and grandchildren would fall madly in love with the children. Just as we did.
I'm reluctant to share individual photos or stories because these are real lives - but perhaps what I can share will give you a glimpse into the hearts of these beautiful generous people and the reason we so much want to return one day.