Living a Little While in Southeast Asia-May 30-June 17, 2014

“What was the best and what was the worst about my recent trip with a mission team to Southeast Asia?” That’s what most want to know. Most want me to recap 18 days in two minutes or less. That is a real laugh because I could go on for hours. . .the trip was indescribable. The best was definitely the incredible opportunity to travel and share God where so many have never heard. The sights–masses of people in the cities traveling on foot, motor scooters, and very few in automobiles; rice fields green on the contoured mountainsides; lush, green almost tropical forest and flowers; women in tribal garb selling wares on streets; and nary a church anywhere. The worst was to see myriads of people just like you and me living so mercilessly poor. When you look about your abode, whatever it is, be very thankful. What if your bed, if you had one, consisted of boards of hard bamboo? What if your only furniture was a somewhat crude, handmade table in the middle of the room plus two or three bright colored plastic chairs? Perhaps you might have a large, framed picture of your wedding and a few bits of colorful, shiny Christmas wrap to decorate your walls. What if your cooking needed to be done in a clay pot over an open flame? What if you might or might not have running water? What if light from electricity at your home hung as a single bulb in the center of your main room? You likely might have a 1950’s TV somewhere in the room and a cell phone that would call the distance to the next village. You might have a bony, white cow tied out front which you washed daily; a cow at your home cherished like a car in your driveway. You might have a motor scooter, but certainly not any kind of automobile. Space between houses is nonexistent. Sometimes tin, plywood, or cloth provide a bit of privacy for your family. You have no need for hot water nor blanket–temperatures hover near one hundred degrees and weather stays incredibly steamy. Live close to a river? Build your ‘house’ on stilts to withstand flooding. You got it! You are experiencing village living at its best in Southeast Asia.
People we met were receptive to hearing about the one true God. We had the benefit of missionaries and interpreters to share the message. Medical care plus instruction for healthy lifestyles, and activities for children filled our eight member team’s days as we traveled hours into the mountains and remote villages by rivers. A few homes had Bibles in their tribal language–while most depend on stories which are told; many have never heard anything of God’s love from anyone.
Here in the USA, we have a church on every corner and so many don’t attend; they meet quietly behind shuttered windows and locked gates with seven or eight other believers. And so it goes. . .so much need–not recognized by smiling faces of those who have never traveled beyond their neighborhood.

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