Greetings from Westexas, Powda, and Dave.
Spend a day in the village with us. Take a look around.
Sit with me in the bed of our Toyota Hilux as we begin the day. I prefer the bed. I like the wind in my hair, the mountains and clouds in the distance, and the intense stares from the locals as the tall, lanky white boys fly down the gravel road.
As we leave the guesthouse, our sweet hostess sees us off. She is the sweet, gentle grandmother you wish lived on your street. I imagine she would bake us anything we liked if we asked. She does our laundry, cleans our rooms, and even sewed up my pants for free after miming out her intentions as I clutched them dearly, fearing what this small woman had in store for my wardrobe. This same woman, who has a huge heart for people, a gift for hospitality, a hardworking character, and that sweet Asian lady charm; goes every day before the spirit house outside of her home and places water, food and various offerings in front of it. She does this as an attempt to placate the spirits that reside here. She does this to appease them, and to receive good luck and wealth. She gives sacrificially of herself to these spirits. The very spirits who want nothing for her besides eternal suffering. These spirits not only steal the worship and love God deserves from this woman, they rob her of true joy, they keep her from experiencing God's love, and they fully intend on pushing her into Hell. These are the spirits she worships. These are the spirits she sacrificially gives to. How desperate her position! How important is our message! It is her only hope. I pray that she will hear the truth and be open to it.
We drive towards our workplace.
Past several dilapidated government buildings. Past a herd of water buffalo that pay no mind to the 2-ton hunk of metal barreling toward them. Past a dozen stray dogs and a couple squads of goats, just doing what they do. You'll also see groups of kids wandering the streets, kicking a water bottle as a makeshift soccer ball, or just sitting in their roadside shop with a visage of boredom. Kids don't change based on location. These are the same, overly energetic kids you'd find in America. But these children don't have the blessing of parental supervision that our children have. Their parents are often too far stretched as it is to provide for them, that they must go throughout the day on their own. You can imagine what kind of damage can be done here. Children are vicious. Children without proper discipline or structure are dangerous. We've seen it here. How one kid, who has a more demanding personality can bully his peers into submission. This happens everywhere, but without someone speaking truth and value into the victim's life, the lies they hear about their value can last well beyond these few years. Coupled with a cultural tendency to not express emotions as well as an intense fear of spirits; they enemy has a stockpile of weapons against these children for their lifetime. These kids are being fed lies day by day, and have no hope of hearing truth without someone speaking to them (Rom 10:14). We need people to be preaching here. We need people to be praying here. We need people to be coming here. We need people to send people here. These people need us.
Oh man. There is so much to write about this place. So many things to be said. I hope I can continue to update on this place and what is going on here. The government does not allow evangelism. Our ministry here is the sweaty ministry of hard manual labor and prayer. Lots of prayer. Getting a business set up here that works, and adds value to this village is how we spread His name at this point. The work He has called us to at this point is the work that allows for free evangelism later on. The work we are doing now is not glamorous work. The work we are doing is not "go home and tell your friends" kind of work. But this work is necessary. This is the work we are called to. We just want to be obedient. We just want to be obedient. God help us to be obedient.