I had priority seating to this wonderful interaction.

I sat on a dirty couch, in a small room, where 2 cows had been locked up, in that very room as well, just minutes before.  That was normal… cows sharing a room with people in their home. There were 2 other dirty couches in this mud brick home, both being occupied by 2 members of this village family and 2 of their friends.

The village men were quiet at times, one even catching a 10 minute nap while sitting on his couch.  They were humble in their manner and spoke only in their native language.  They had darker skin, weathered by the sun.  When the older gentleman smiled, it felt very warm and genuine.  The younger one, nephew to the patriarch of this home (who was napping), was having a friendly discussion with the friend, occasionally getting distracted by the action-packed show on the TV…the TV that was in the room of this mud brick home, that had a stall inside of it for the family cows…that had no proper plumbing.

The friends were quite different, more like me in fact.  They had lighter skin, were taller, had larger feet and noses, and when speaking to me, had my accent.  They weren’t weathered.  At the same time, the friends were much like the villagers as well, choosing to get all of the good out of their well-worn clothes, speaking too in their language, even in this village’s dialect.

I witnessed the comfort and casualness of their friendship as we sat there with the villagers and exchanged what seemed like pleasantries.  The friends were very familiar.  Even though they looked different from each other (except their clothes), they fit right together.  They laughed together.  They addressed their children as they scrambled in and out of the room, much in the same way.  Their body language…hand gestures, arm position and relaxed posture suggested to me that they were very comfortable and much acquainted with each other.

At some point, one of the two friends took out a memory card and handed it to the young man.  The other friend was facilitating the interaction with a verbal explanation.  He explained to the young man that the Gospel of Luke had been translated in his own language and dialect. 

They sat for a while longer…the TV still a bit of a distraction, even for me.  There was a real personal and holy moment going on while in the background a badly made movie for TV was being aired…people getting shot and falling off of buildings.

The distraction agitated only me, I think.

There was what seemed like a long wait until the young man eventually plugged this memory card into his phone and began listening.  His friends were good at waiting.  Then we all sat there as the 1st chapter of the Gospel of Luke was read.  I didn’t understand a word that was being read, but for some reason, my eyes welled up with tears, even as they do right now in writing this. God was reaching out to His beloved creation, breaking all barriers to do so, to tell this young man that He loved him and wanted a relationship with him.  It was very moving, yet very ordinary and normal.

After the first chapter, the young man turned it off and they again exchanged pleasant and familiar conversation, one often leaning into the other or gesturing with a touch of the hand.  It was all so different (the cow, mud brick house, dirtier living conditions) and yet very similar (friendship, familiarity, ordinary).

I’ve played this scene over and over in my mind since it happened.  It was ordinary and routine and simple, even in its extraordinary place and setting.  It was ordinary much like me sitting in a café on Bayview Terrace, having conversation with another mom, discussing parenting, sleep deprivation and schools.  It was simple, just like developing a relationship with someone when there is a common thread…our daughters for example.  It was routine as it is always routine for me to discuss my children.

God hasn’t called me to go to language school for 2 years…He hasn’t asked me to live in vastly different circumstances or settings…I don’t have to do anything outstanding except to be myself, enter into relationship and pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance…yet what is extraordinary is that the Creator of the Universe is redeeming mankind, through the shed blood of Christ, one relationship at a time.

Hallelujah!

Our time together ended and I left with the 2 friends of the villagers.  I won’t get to witness what I think will be the end of that story…salvation in Christ for the young man who was seeking truth.  I can however, see that same story played out here, in my relationships, in much the same way…living authentically, being available, answering questions about my faith…all without the cow in my living room.

Advertisements