“Are you happy?” she asked as she dumped rice into the folded banana leaves.
I assume she must have heard me crying. She is here for the holidays and the making and selling of “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 cross-cultural worker image will be destroyed
and you are worried your neighbor will thus find Jesus completely worthless and unappealing
because the privileged white cross-cultural worker living in what seems to be a 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. Inside, half of me was screaming out explanation after explanation for my troubles while the other half was making a pretty good argument (if I don’t say so myself) for just being real:
1. God doesn’t need me to be perfect to reach the lost.
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 for Him who is perfection.
Thankfully, the Lord helped me hold back the excuses. 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 prompted in a whisper.
After a long pause, she grinned, “Because I hate making this bread.”
What inner dialogues have you had recently?