Aack! I suddenly turned into the incredible bulk! I looked at least six foot three and like I weighed 300 lbs. How did this distressing thing happen? Well, it was a matter of perspective.
It was Monday morning and the ladies looked especially dressed up when they came for Bible study. Most were wearing their traditional La Hu tribal costumes. I found out why! It was picture day. Anond had arranged to take a group picture and individual shots after Bible study.
We started late because Anond had to go to court again that morning. An unscrupulous church member had tried to sell the church property at Na Hui, even though he was clearly not the owner. In spite of that, the ruling was apparently that the church would have to refund the money if they wanted to keep the property — but the erring church member kept the money! Another court date is coming up. A need for prayer here.
We finished our study on Rebekah, discussing the mistakes she made as a mother with favoritism and with sneakiness — and the sorrow she reaped from those mistakes. At the end I asked for questions.
“So, if a mother loves one child a lot more than the other children, it isn’t a good thing?” one of the ladies asked. “She shouldn’t do that?”
Since that was what almost the entire lesson was about, her question was somewhat discouraging! At least we made a start.
Then we took pictures. “It’s too bad I don’t have a La Hu uniform,” I said.
“That’s okay,” Anond said. “Ma Ta is going to loan you hers. She has two.”
Sure enough, Ma Ta brought out a lovely, elaborate skirt and overdress from her bag. I recognized it as the one she wore for her wedding when we were here last February. It fit me fairly well, although I found the layers and long sleeves a little warm on that hot day. Her alternate jacket, though, was too small for her and she couldn’t get it buttoned. The other ladies came to her aid, and they swapped around until everyone had something that fit. This was accomplished with lots of hilarity and fun. I wished I could understand La Hu — because they were evidently cutting up and making really funny jokes.
We took the group picture, with the ladies with only partial outfits in the back. Then they each wanted an individual shot with me. I agreeably posed for the pictures. When I looked at them, I was appalled! These ladies are all short and petite. Ma Ta is the largest, and even she is much smaller than I am. (The dress she loaned me was loose-fitting or I couldn’t have worn it.) Next to them, I looked like a giantess! But, I want you to see these precious ladies, so I will include my monster pictures. You will have to wait a bit for that “treat,” though. They won’t load with my problem Internet. When we make our last visit to the condo on Friday, I will post all the pics from the week.
Then came another surprise. They brought out their music to practice for the women’s conference in a couple of weeks. I sat back to enjoy the singing. Ma Ta handed me a song sheet, and I smiled and read along as they sang. Then she stood over me and pointed to each word as they sang. I finally got it — they wanted me to sing with them! It was a La Hu song about the people that Jesus healed and the tune was unfamiliar to me. But I sang along, not missing more than two notes out of three and I probably didn’t mispronounce ALL the words — just most of them.
Anond told me later that they want me to sing with them at the conference! Those of you who know me understand why I am not usually asked to sing. The Lord just didn’t entrust me with that ability – to put it charitably. I was touched that they want me to sing with them, though, and I will do it. At least, I will stand in the back and move my lips!
Just one more Bible study. A week from Monday the ladies’ conference starts. I have some direction now on the topic — Romans 8:28-29. I’ve seen how this precious promise can set us free from bitterness, from anger, and from worry. I’ll apply it in different messages to show how it can change our marriages, the way we raise our children, and the way we relate to friends and other people in our world.
So often I’ve seen Paul experience the very things he is preparing to preach on. (I jokingly suggest he preach a nice long series on God’s blessings and leave the trials alone!) I have had an opportunity to practice putting this promise into action with a load of unexpected trials these last few weeks. Prayers appreciated.
Blessings from Thailand,