It’s funny how before coming here I imagined everything about missionary life feeling exactly the opposite of the mundane life I was living at that moment.
Somehow cleaning house would take on new meaning and preparing meals would be a cultural experience that would shroud the work of it all. I pictured huge cauldrons of rice and curry being prepared to serve to the starving throng about me. (this is me, fessing up to an overactive imagination!)
Only there is no starving throng.
God sent us to a place where the physical need isn’t terribly visible. This place is prospering in it’s own way. It’s very different than America but Thailand is a country blazing its own trail in the 21st century.
The people we’ve encountered are generally kind and giving. They’re desperately in love with children and wildly patient with our ignorant, western ways. They forgive our terrible Thai and strain to understand our fumbling attempts to converse with them in their mother tongue.
They’ve welcomed us here and sometimes, more often than I’d care to admit, it feels like they are the missionaries sent to us.
We live in an incredible little village of good-natured, helpful people. I’m often tempted to think, What can we even do for these beautiful people that they aren’t already doing for themselves?
And then God reminds me.
Because months before we left, I shared from the front of our home church the few details we knew of this new missionary life that was slowly unfolding before us. I gave a testimony of the miraculous ways God had provided and cleared obstacles we’d never have been able to clear on our own. I shared the calling He’d put on our hearts though He’d still only given us the tiniest glimpse of it.
And afterwards a man I’d never seen before approached me. He was dressed in a peculiar outfit (which I cannot seem to draw to my mind’s eye) and two women were with him that I’d also never seen before.
He said that God had given him a message for me and I won’t lie … I instinctively recoiled a little. Because let’s be honest, there are some strange people out there saying some strange things in the name of the God of Creation.
My radar was on high alert as I forced a smile and listened.
“Where you are going, God has gone before you. He’s been at work in that place and with those people.”
I remember relaxing a bit. This didn’t sound so off-the-wall as I had originally feared.
“He wants me to tell you something very important. You will experience things that you cannot fathom right now and He wants you to NEVER be afraid.” And then he repeated …
“You are NOT to fear.”
He said quite a bit more but the theme of everything he told me centered on two things: God had gone ahead of us and He was asking us to follow Him there with courage to face even the most terrifying things.
Then one of the ladies with him leaned forward and rested her hand on mine. “I’m to tell you your son will be fine. There is a fruit over there. He should eat it and it will help with his breathing.”
Interestingly, while I did reference his chronic health condition when I was speaking from the front, I don’t believe I said anything about it being asthma.
I’m pretty sure I probably gulped or gasped. Either that or I sat staring in disbelief. I’d never had a conversation like that before.
When they finished saying what they’d come to say, they excused themselves and politely made a beeline for the door, stopping to talk with nobody else.
I asked a good number of people of they knew the trio and not a single person had ever seen them before. I later asked our pastor about them and he said he’d tried going over to greet them as they were leaving, but he was unable to get there before they walked directly out the door.
Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you they were angels sent with a message, but I’m also not going to tell you they weren’t. I honestly have no idea. They certainly just looked like regular old people, as do the rest of us, but God can easily instruct a mere human to deliver a message He wants delivered.
I’ve realized it little matters if they were angels or humans. Their message has proven true.
God has clearly gone ahead of us. He clearly picked out the very village He’s placed us in and it becomes more evident every single day. And He very clearly had His eye on two beautiful Thai children living in a slum, desperate for an encounter with Him they didn’t know they needed.
We can’t help but wonder how many more we’ll have the honor of introducing to the One with all power over the darkness of the spirit world?
There’s one thing I know already, however, and that’s the stark reality that God brought us an ocean away from home to save even us. So much has happened and changed with our family that I feel like it would take several posts to share it all.
I promise I’ll at least make an attempt.
But also, I’m praying those changes have only just begun which would give us years of testimony yet ahead of us!