We had lunch with a foreign missionary, had lunch with us and spoke to us about many things. Does God ever place people in your life that to the average person, or to the onlooker they seem to just be talking? To you, however, they are speaking directly to issues in your heart? This missionary lunch meeting was just such a person and just such a place.
For me the question I was asking was one regarding the sharing of the gospel. Earlier that day I confessed to the group that I wasn’t sure how to share Jesus… exactly. I don’t know if anyone else experiences this nervousness or struggle, but I suspect a lot of people do. Whenever I get nervous, or feel insecure? I look for a formula or system to implement instead of having to organically create or learn new things that may be scary. I was looking for formulas and systems to share Jesus—Roman Road, and others… This missionary spoke to us, without any prompting, about how systems are not how we as people automatically think. For example, in the morning we don’t first think about the optimal system of hygienic cleansing, but rather? “ug. Shower.” I am learning that it is okay (better?) to share Jesus from a natural place of knowing Him. A real place. Sometimes I don’t know what to do, and instead of seeking God I seek a formula. An ‘a’ plus ‘b’ equals ‘c’ methodology that minimizes risk and maximizes gain. God doesn’t work this way, and isn’t interested in the numbers, but rather, as He keeps faithfully telling me, He is all about our relationship. I cannot be Jesus to everyone. I am not God. I need to be mindful to remember that, and focus on being available and surrendered to God.
The day started out majestically. The rain was coming down so we ended up not going to the rice patty fields to plant at 8. Instead we walked to a nearby restaurant and had breakfast. We decided that we were going to have downtime until that afternoon, then we would be picked up by our local friend in his “tuk-tuk”, eat lunch at his home, and then begin planting. I heard my incredible ministry mates have a fabulous time together—laughing, joking, hanging out. I had a WONDERFUL time alone. This felt especially satisfying because I decided that I didn’t want to “hang out” with my amazing faith-family but opted for the choice that was better for me: time alone with God. I read half of John, and then it was time to go. So we went, and knowing it was the last day I was able to really push through and find joy in all that we were doing. The mud was gooshy. Soft, with… a few surprises. The snake nest that Nelson and Sam found while tilling the field was… well, boa constrictors… so at least they were not poisonous. Heh…When they were done preparing the field I actually was not afraid to go in and begin planting the rice, which was a new response for me after hearing about and seeing snakes swimming in the place I would be walking barefoot. The snake was caught and we all got to touch him—he felt like a hot dog! Kind of mooshie, but firm. I don’t know if they were killed or relocated. We spent 6 hours yesterday and 6 hours today planting. I didn’t realize how much I was counting down until the plans changed.
Sam said, we should not leave tomorrow morning for the capital, rather, we should wake up and check out of our guesthouse at 11 or so and then go plant and leave for the capital tomorrow evening. This meant another full day of planting. Things shifted in my heart after that. I was resentful. I hated seeing that in myself and wanted to just NOT have a bad attitude, but it was there. My whole body hurt—my knees, my back, my butt, my arms. I had scratches and aches. I was tired. My attitude was, bad. A few days later I was STILL praying about it getting better! Then when we get done planting we go to rinse off using the toilet bowl flushing container and this trough bucket. We rinse the majority of the dried mud off, lather up with soap, and rinse again. About this time Sam tells us we are going to pray for the same man we prayed for last night, but instead of going straight over we have to go back to our guest house to shower and put nice clothes on. Going over to their house dirty is a disgrace to the woman. Dang it.
So we go back to the guesthouse. I don’t shower but I put on a quasi-clean dress that I have, re-tussle my disheveled hair, smooth on some eye liner on my lower lid, and spray on a fresh application of bug spray. Oh, and put on my black earrings too. Looking sharp, still trying NOT to pout. Nelson and Anna are great—when the new plan was explained it was detailed in such a way that I thought we would not be eating until 9 or so.. Imagine with me hearing this after working in a field (yes it WAS beautiful and a wonderfully overcast day—Thank you God!) but tired, and sore, and though not exactly starving not wanting to wait until 10pm to eat. So, Nelson agrees to stop at the store for a snack and we get cookies coupled with a coffee when we got to the guesthouse. Ok. Ready. We go, and I cannot find a comfortable position to sit on the floor while we eat and then while we pray. All meals are eaten on the floor on top of mats. The dinner was great, though there were bugs all over the place—crickets, beetles, everything crawling around. I’ve gotten to a place where I just pick it out of the food. Dinner was super tasty. Bug dodging and all. Then it is time to pray for our brother, who is on his death bed, and I ask for God’s forgiveness, I fell asleep in EVERY stage of the prayer—I tried shifting positions I tried praying out loud. Ahh… I was just so tired from the last two days activities. Then AFTER this wonderful woman gives us coffee and cookies that I eat entirely too many of each time they are placed in front on me. So now, 11:17PM, Friday the 1st of July, on my bed beside me is my sleeping roommate Anna. I am quite awake typing about the day because of my sugar buzz and caffeine fix.