I assume she must have heard me crying. She is here for the holidays and the making and selling of a "bread" made from mung beans, sticky rice, and pork. She loves to take a break under the jackfruit tree that is right next to our house. Maybe during one of her siestas she heard me crying or, worse yet, complaining loudly to my husband about nothing working right or how overwhelming this village transition is.
I gritted my teeth. The Lord had burdened my heart before we moved here with the idea of vulnerability, being real even when your
- superhero missionary image will be destroyed
- and you are worried your neighbor will thus find Jesus completely worthless and unappealing
- because the privileged white missionary living in a Khmer-style castle is crying over having to hand wash a few clothes ...
Ministry over. No one is coming to Jesus in this village. Maybe we should move.
Teeth gritted and pride humbled, I told her it was hard to live here: hard to do all the things she does every day, hard to make new friends while missing others, hard to deal with cultural differences like someone cutting down branches on our tree to get ant eggs which, in turn, means said giant red ants will be mercilessly biting my children for days...and they are mad when I ask them to stop...
She nodded, tying off the bundle of stuffed leaves and putting it in the pile for steaming. Half of me was screaming out excuse after excuse in my head while the other was making a pretty good argument (if I don't say so myself) for being real:
2. My weakness and sin show how much I need Jesus.
3. I choose to cease attempts at hiding my imperfections in order to reach the lost.
Thankfully, the Lord helped me hold back the excuses and explanations. My friend handed me a steamed "bread" with the banana leaves pealed back like, well, a banana.
"Are you happy?" I finally was able to ask, hoping to share a deeper moment of friendship.
"No." she replied. I held my breath in anticipation as she looked soberly past me toward the mountains.
"Why not?" I whispered.
After a long pause, she grinned. "Because I hate making this bread."