Communal Bathing

In a mountain stream in SouthEast Asia, I came upon a lady collecting river moss to make sushi wrappers. Seeing that the task looked tedious I decided to “help her”. I staggered behind her on the slippery rocks spending more time regaining balance then collecting moss. She continued her work as precious laughter intermixed with words I could not understand. I am clueless as to what she said, but her face led me to believe she found me humorous and lovable.

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We filled her bag and waved goodbye. Not long after as I was sitting in the natural hot spring tub at our guest house (missionary life is rough), there she was again. She had come to the river, like all the villagers, to take her bath. Now I had never really been exposed to communal bathing, but I learned most women manage to bathe while staying covered. The older ladies, however, find themselves beyond modesty and they bathe topless! My new friend happened to be old….

She spotted me in the hot tub and her and her friends moved there bathing spot close so that we could continue our bonding. Then she jumped up in the hot tub with me and took a big cup and poured the hot water over me. Even if I had known the language I would have still been speechless. I  laughed awkwardly as my new little topless Asian friend “helped me get warm!”

ImageMy coworker Andy says “Nudity builds community!” While I am not yet sold on this fact, I do know that I love that woman. I know that she comes to the forefront of my prayers and I know that I wish more than anything that she knew the Lord. My lack of language and the strict government watch held my tongue captive. Yet in the simplicity of picking river moss, cooking rice, defeathering chickens, modeling traditional clothing, fluffing cotton and yes even communal bathing, communication and relationships formed. I pray fervently for the day we can stand a top those mountains proclaiming truth, but I am thankful for the silent messages shared between two women and the privilege to pray for this woman everyday. 

 

*I feel as though this title might get almost as much attention at Surviving the Bush Commando did two years ago! The mission field puts you in some strange positions*

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My Prayer

The Lord has been gracious and faithful. I just returned from two weeks among my family in West Africa. The Lord showed his vibrancy and presence in an unforgettable way that has left its permanent mark on the team and the villages.

To read more about the trip check out my latest newsletter here!

Just before I left the capital city for the villages the Lord gave me a  prayer that resounded through the trip and echoed upon my return. I think I’ll just share it with you. I pray that these words remain on my heart and my lips…

1-2-12 On the Rooftop overlooking the City

“He will stand and shepherd His flock in the STRENGTH and MAJESTY  of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his GREATNESS will reach the ends of the Earth and he will be their peace.”  Micah 5:4-5

Lord you supersede all that we could ever do or say. Your words bring me to my knees in awe of your royalty and beautiful reign.You took the wretched world upon your back and your heart and then seeped peace throughout the Earth. As I sit here on the edge of the “ends of the Earth” I rest in your promise that your greatness will reach and your peace will swell out of the dry and brittle land.

Lord I beg of your power and mercy. I pray that you would flood our temple and be a beacon in the darkness that pierces the very souls of the beautiful West Africans. In light of all that you have done and accomplished for us all you require is for us to “act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with you.” (Micah 6:8) Yet I find myself here prostrate and begging you to help me live justly, love mercy and walk with you.

I pray that your truth would sound as drums of truth…Lord, we beckon your power here now!

The Lord was faithful in all that I asked. The movement, power and peace that now live in the small African villages are a beacon. There are still struggles and thousands without access to the Gospel, but God still reaches out further and further. I am realizing more day by day that this prayer is relevant on and off the field. I ask that if you are serious about the movement of the Gospel that you will join me in this prayer for the people of West Africa, for your neighbor and for yourself.  In all things may Christ be glorified!