On Saturday and Sunday, we had the opportunity to stay in an Akha village. Faa has a brother who is a traveling pastor that ministers to the hill tribe people. A few weeks ago, he began praying, asking God which village we should go to. On Saturday afternoon, Heidi, Faa, and I were dropped off in a village he had not been able to visit in some time. When we arrived, we walked around on some of the dirt roads and greeted some people. Then we settled in at the home of a Christian couple. They provided a delicious Akha meal and a corner in their home for us to sleep. I am glad Faa likes to talk because she carried the conversation for hours as they talked about Akha days gone by, family, and the GROW ministry.
I was struggling with the value of the “sleep over” at that moment because it seemed so difficult to communicate. It wasn’t until later that I saw how the evening helped to begin a relationship and build trust with these brothers and sisters in Christ and some other Akha people in the village. Sunday morning was more effective because of it.
We started Sunday with an Akha breakfast. The GROW kids and staff arrived shortly before 9 a.m. and it was decided we should go to the church and start an hour early! The kids sang some songs and everyone was told that there were guests from another country visiting and were going to share with them. I made an introduction and shared the testimony of how God worked through my church family to help me and Heidi shared her testimony and God’s faithfulness to her. I then shared more about our God, starting with creation to the cross. Faa’s brother reviewed some of the scripture I shared (I found out it was read in Thai not Akha!). There was a lot of discussion going on and we learned that the people said they never prayed because they didn’t know how. About ten hands went up letting him know they wanted him to teach them how to pray, and he did. The service went on for three hours. During some of that time, the GROW children gave a gift from their own toys to an Akha child. This meant a lot to the people and the kids. After church, all of us were served lunch. Then we headed back. Everyone was touched in different ways by this experience. Thank you, God! The Christians in this church are asking us to pray that someone would commit to being their pastor, to teach them more.