Almost every week-day for the year we lived on the border, Kristin and I would don long-sleeves and hats and prayer walk the streets around our town. Sometimes we would stick to the pavement, weaving around carts filled with suitcases or fruit ready to head across the border, ignoring calls for taxi rides and comments about our height, weight, nose length and skin color. We would attempt to listen to the Holy Spirit and speak out words of blessing, while dodging motos and people and dogs and children. The road looped around the main part of town, past the border crossing, little restaurants, guesthouses and clothing shops, the gas station on the corner and back to our home.
Other days we would venture down the dirt roads to little villages farther out. If the roads weren’t too muddy from the previous day’s rain, we could focus on asking the Father to open the hearts and homes of the families we passed by, rather than attempting to miss big puddles.
Sometimes a brave soul would call out a greeting and we would sit under the shelter of a tarp or aluminum roof for a cool drink and conversation. They asked lots of questions about our salary and eating habits, and we shared the bigger purpose in our morning jaunts (no, it wasn’t just ’cause we like to exercise), offering a story or a prayer for healing.
Many days, I didn’t want to go. For this girl who thrives on routine and predictability, the unknown of who and what we might encounter and the ever-present possibility that no one would want to talk to us wore bit by bit on my heart. The sun beat down, discouragement often came, and once open doors felt very much shut. But we kept going, kept walking and praying and smiling and greeting. We did make friends and often circled by in regular intervals to greet them as we continued to explore new places.
On a recent visit back to this border town, we were headed back to our guesthouse from lunch when a woman called out to us in English. Back and forth in her native Thai, our Khmer and a few words of English, with a little translation help from her son, she eagerly invited us to her home. “I used to see you walk past my house all the time”, she told us. She welcomed us in, buying us the best green tea latte in town and promising to embroider a Khmer picture for us to take back on our next visit home. She and her husband shared an interest in the things of Jesus and an openness to us coming back to share more.
Her house is on a road we’ve walked many times, one of the dirt paths where we met the curious gazes of neighbors and asked the Father to open up a household.
Often I see only the smallest signs of God’s hand instead of the big answers to prayer and I want to quit. But this woman was a reminder to keep going, keep walking, keep sharing, keep loving, keep waiting to see what God will do.
Psalm 27:14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.