I’ve been reading through old journals, scribbles, and reflections and found one the other morning that brought me back to dragon fruit, fresh spicy cilantro, and a thickness in the air that allows little room for breathing.
I was reading about my time in Vietnam – 6 years ago – when I went on a 2-week trip with a group of Hendrix College students.
We had traveled to the country to work in a remote, small village to build and assist a community in building homes. More than a “missions trip” the focus was to talk to people. Observe. Listen. It was intentional in that way, and because of that, there was an openness established from the beginning.
Vietnam was one of the first distinct experiences I had in completely surrounding myself in another culture. The biggest one, to that point, really had been moving to Arkansas for school. I mean, let’s be real, it’s Arkansas.
I wrote in my journal of a poignant moment towards the end of the trip,
On the boat ride back from the village, the mother of one of the families we worked with took my hand and held it the entire boat ride. Language became nothing in that moment, our communication surpassed words. She gave me a beautiful bracelet off the realm of her dainty wrist. Why? Maybe she wanted to say ‘thank you’. Maybe she noticed me looking at it. Or maybe, it was simply an act of love and recognition of value. She had been the same woman to dance with me at the BBQ, the same woman who shared her children’s upbringing, and the same woman that worked alongside me to lay bricks. We had fellowshippped together and so maybe sharing her bracelet was to serve as a reminder for how God completely transcends anything we know, understand, or grasp. He is at work. At home, here, and in this woman. Thank God for that.
When I experienced Vietnam, I was introduced to the idea of surpassing cultural limitations.
I firmly believe that’s something God has called me to do.
Below is a video that is just a small piece of what a meal was like in Vietnam. A Vietnamese BBQ to be precise. Grilled pineapple, rice wine, and roasted meat – and that was just the beginning. Like a humid, summer day at the park with family, it was about togetherness. And fellowship. Always fellowship.
That’s a girding force behind moving forward and choosing to do “The Experience.” It’s about building my own relationship with God so I allow the transformative experience of God to work under any kind of circumstances. Any.