i’m back. 3 days in the mountains filled with rice, pork, children, lahu people and roosters at 3am. i loved every minute there. somehow children and i bonded very quickly. it was difficult to say goodbye. the project staff and the church committee members were generous and had such servant heart. they served us well even though they are the leaders of the church. i remember a committee member who wore a tattered dark green t-shirt with a hole in the front and a pair of navy blue pants that was too small for his waist. and i thought of how drastically far from the world’s perspective of a leader he was. yet, this man was a true leader, a servant leader.
the church pastor is also a man of authority but he never prided himself. his quiet demeanor was one thing. but his faith, oh! how contagious it was! we learned that he never receives a salary being a pastor in this small village. he’s been living on the mercy of God and His provision alone. he is a man whose vision is to reach out not only to the people in his community but to the surrounding areas as well. this is the picture of pastor jabo:
on the way to this project, we got lost (a usual habit if i’m on the trip). we took a wrong turn. even though this road could lead us to the village, we would need a 4 wd truck plus chains…which we didn’t have. we were on the wrong track for 40 minutes. some might think that it was a waste of time but if we weren’t lost, these shots would have gone unnoticed:
i learned that lahu is a culture of men and older generation. we could see that through the their daily life and how they interact in the church and project. but they are more open to welcoming the new generation. and i’m sure we will see some passionate kids going up there to become shepherds in the future.
while at the project, i was able to spend time more with myself to refocus. i had no computer with me, which was a blessing. and each day was a total reliance on God. the team and i were busy…oh, yeah..but it was a good kind of busyness. we visited the sponsored children’s houses, spent time playing soccer and jumpropes with boys and girls, talking to the project staff and being blessed by their presence and prayed with the church members.
the project director is a man of very few words. but he’s an action taker. he can carry a 45 kilogram rice sack over his shoulders and walk up a steep hill with no problem balancing himself at all. very strong but very gentle when being around children. i’ve never heard him yell at the kids at all.
life in the mountain is simple. people are like families to each other. they care for you and love you just like you are their relatives. when we had our lunch, the last meal at the project, i was pondering on the kindness of the staff and how they took care of us. as i was doing that, i had to swallow a huge lump of gratitude in my throat. i was overwhelmed by their kindness…and i almost cried…again.
i want to be like these people, so ready to serve and love. i know life tends to get complexed at times. i’m sure these people go through the same difficulty. but what they had shown me during the past 3 days was a clear reflection of Christ’s love and humbleness. their willingness to be God’s tools despite the circumstances and hardship was inspiring. there were over a hundred children these guys had to take care of but they did it joyfully and wholeheartedly.
when we had to leave the village, a big group of children we’d hung out over the weekend and the church members came to see us off at the guesthouse. there were lots of handshakes and saying goodbye. we took a group shot together. then it was time to hop on the trucks. some girls would never leave until they saw that we were off for good. they stood next to our car windows and waved goodbye. when the wheels were rolling, they ran after us almost to the entrance of the village. it was difficult to hold back tears.
p.s. more photos will be uploaded on facebook…later this week.