|Village with one believing family (&source of questionable water)|
The village where we had restocked on worm and flotsam water was one we had not been intending to visit until a believer in the village before told us about their need for encouragement. The family we visited had only believed for 4 weeks--- 4 weeks of spiritual oppression and physical illness. They have no church and no fellow believers to encourage them; only a long history of Satan's domain in their mountains. And he doesn't like to let go without a fight. As we sat inside their little stilted bamboo hut, it became clear that they were struggling, not understanding WHY. Why would the spirits still torment them? Why would their house be shaken, a house known by the name of Christ? Why would spirits come to choke them, and whisper in their ears that Jesus wouldn't save them? They were desperate for relief. For peace. After hearing them out, we got to share how we have seen God conquer the power of the evil spirits-- in places like Ethiopia and Nepal. We got to pray over their family and their house, reminding all present that we are more than conquerers through Christ who loves us. That nothing can separate us from His love. That we are promised to have trouble in this world, but we can take heart because Christ has overcome the world and He gives us His all-sufficient peace. The struggle is very real in those mountains up north in Thailand, but God has already won!
|God provides water in His time. We did not fall asleep thirsty.|
After leaving that village we continued on our way to the next village, a several hour hike away. Soon our contaminated water was gone and our flip flops were kicking up dust as we walked through the hot season colored fields. I was just complaining to God about wanting water when one of our Hill Tribe brothers who was serving as an interpreter for our weeklong trip through the mountains began to whistle. The notes came clear and sound: "As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after Thee...." I caught myself singing along, "As Jodi panteth for the water, so my--" WAIT A MINUTE. My thoughts took a whole new direction. We were truly panting for need of water, and the villagers we had just left (and more in the villages before and after them) were panting for more of God! Here I am thinking about how nice a cup of water would feel to my mouth, when their spirits are crying out in desperation for the Living Water! As silly as this sounds, the very dry state of my mouth was a reflection of the state of these mountain peoples. And another thought: is my soul craving the constant presence of God like my mouth is craving water? I think we so often forget our NEED for Him. We don't realize we are dehydrating our souls by not seeking Him first. A dehydrated soul is a far more desperate case than a dehydrated body! My thirst for water put in perspective, I knew the true reason we were in those mountains. Though I loved (for real!) the bee larva spicy sauce, the bamboo houses, the ferns and rice for every meal of the day, the amazing stars (when you could see them through the smoke from the burning hillsides), the hikes through Thai mountains, the laughter between new friends and jokes in a language I have only begun to speak--- I knew I loved the heart behind our trek even more.
I don't have time now to share more adventures from this trip, so I will either post a Part 2 someday or you will have to ask me about it in person :)