I'm glad we went. And I'm glad we're back.
Those have been my words following our recent trip to the home village of the street kids we do regular ministry with. We were so blessed that they invited us home to their village to stay for a few days. We've grown so much in relationship with them and it was a wonderful opportunity to escape the busy city and just hang out.
We left early Thursday morning and met mom, dad & 3 kids at their city "home" in the slums. We loaded up our 6 motorbikes and took off for the village. Once we left the highways and big streets, we found ourselves in the forest as we climbed in altitude. It was breathtaking. It was exciting.
We stopped for "breakfast" of spicy rice & roasted pig. After our meal, we kept heading up as the roads got smaller and more winding. We stopped briefly at a market for a few supplies before the final 30 minutes of driving. We then began the most harrowing part of the drive. Dirt & sand littered with stones and gravel at sharp inclines, declines, and turns were our next challenge. Our bikes were getting stuck and we were falling down. I didn't think we were going to make it up this mountain. But we did. One step, one hill, and one curve at a time. The family's home hangs off the edge of the mountain and their view of the coast is spectacular. But there's a reason there's no tourist resorts up there!
We met grandpa & grandma who still live in the village when we arrived. They don't speak much of the national language that we've been learning, but still just the village language. But they were warm and friendly, welcoming us in their home. We were the first non-Asians and first Christians to ever stay on their property! We set up our hammocks and began playing with the kids. They were so excited to have us in their home, and we even met some of their cousins too!
Although we still can't speak the language fully and very well, we communicated with the few words we did know, our smiles and our actions. Our teammates thankfully are native speakers! We enjoyed a meal, attempted to draw water from the well for showers and finally made our way to the hammocks. We went to bed the first night, worn out and full of smiles.
We were awoken quite early the next morning to grandpa playing an amplified recording of Hindu chants used to call back the ancestor spirits....for an hour. Then he released his pigeons and called them back with the banging of metal and war chants. It was not a peaceful morning at all. The spiritual atmosphere was quite heavy. One of our teammates had the chance to tell several of the kids Bible stories as they swung together in the hammocks. It was so cool to see that happen. We played in the morning with the kids at the house, and then had the chance to take them down the nearby beach. It was another eventful trip down the mountain.
The beach was a blast and we loved the chance to love on these kids even more. Our friendship with them goes beyond the streets and now is a real bond.
We separated from the team a day early, and split our driving over an extra day. Throughout the rest of the time, we reflected on this trip. It was so hard. But it was so worth it. Seeing how hard it was to reach this family in this village on that mountain just reminded us how important it is to continue to build relationship with this family. If we don't go with the Gospel, who will go?