Easter morning was both the most special and most random Easter that I’ve ever had. Here’s why…
I awoke at 4:20am, got dressed, and made coffee (more important than a shower at that unreasonable hour). Faye and I were out the door and in my truck by 5am and headed for town to pick up a friend. From there we drove to Village at the Foot of the Cliff to pick up Dave and T and Uncle O’s family. But when we arrived at T’s house, only T and Dave were there and they didn’t know where Uncle O was – they had already gone to his house and checked some other places but he and his family were nowhere to be found. T was supposed to have gone and told Uncle O the day before that we’d be picking him up early for a special service in NPJT but he never did. We had to arrive in NPJT before 6, so we couldn’t wait around any longer. I turned the truck onto the main road again and within 20 seconds we came alongside Uncle O and his family (wife and 3 kids) walking beside the road. We were kind of stunned to see them but I slowed down and we started calling out to them. They kept walking away from the truck until T got out of the truck and Uncle O recognized him. Uncle O came up to my window and asked if we were going to meet as normal that morning in their village. We were, so I told him so. Then his family (who had climbed into the back of my truck in the meantime) climbed out of my truck and he said that he’d see us later that morning. So on we went to NPJT.
We arrived in NPJT just as the sun was rising. I parked at my friends’ house and we quickly walked through a woods, down a road, across a foot bridge, down another road and then scrambled up one hill and then another and another until we reached a small clearing in the woods. The believers there had gathered in that clearing and were seated in a semi circle – they were singing hymns as we arrived. We all found places amongst our friends and joined in worshipping the risen Lord. Two of the believers taught from the Bible and then we prayed together.
It was an amazing time. I find that I’m understanding more and more Thai-yai and because I studied easy Gospel stories last, I am more familiar with the vocabulary in the Word of God. So it was much more meaningful to understand what I was singing about – I wasn’t just reading words that were just sounds to me because I didn’t know the meaning. And hearing the preaching was also encouraging.
After the service there, we hung out at my friends’ house for a little while and then went back to Village at the Foot of the Cliff for a service there. Uncle O came with his 3 kids and told us that he thought we were kidnappers earlier that morning. There have been reports (at least one true case) of a child being kidnapped from her mother and later found dead with her heart taken out. So this was a very real fear and concern for Uncle O. When we had come alongside him in the wee hours of the morning, he had apparently told his kids to walk faster – that’s why they hadn’t stopped. I still don’t know what Uncle O was doing out that early though!
Once we worshipped the Lord with some songs and my friend taught about Jesus rising from the dead, she handed out tracts to us all. She said, “We’re going to go and tell people in this village that “Jesus is risen!””
I don’t know what your experience has been with tracts – I know in many places they’re just thrown in the garbage. But here, amongst the Thai-yai, they’re an effective way to communicate the Gospel. People hold onto them and read them.
So we went and told many people, “Jesus has risen from the dead! Here, have a read!”
Many people, or perhaps even most people, would have no idea who Jesus is. So I imagine that even the topic would capture their interest. ‘Who is this guy who rose from the dead?’ ‘Is it true?’ Pray for these folk who received those tracts. Pray for future opportunities to meet and talk with each of them.
Easter this year didn’t consist of any chocolate, nor eggs, nor bunnies. Although I sometimes struggle with feeling isolated from friends, family and the rest of the world, I was thankful that the commercialized Easter hasn’t reached this corner of the world. It was refreshingly simple, and it allowed me to reflect more on Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection.
“Risen already, risen already, Hallelujah! He’s risen already…” (translated from a hymn we sang on Sunday)