Having lived all my life in a cosmopolitan city, I must confess that I cannot handle the rigors of life of the very poor living in harsh condition when I visit and minister to them. I often prayed and confessed my weakness, and asked for God’s protection against possible illness due to poor sanitation, food hygiene and virus or bacterial infection. As not to embarrass the hosting village, I would try to take some of the food being served but with much fear in my heart.
Once I went to a slum in Bogor, Indonesia, with a missionary partner to give the children stationery and exercise books for the new school semester. Later the locals would serve us lunch. I watched how they washed the rice at a canal in which they would do their laundry, bathing and even excretion.
When the trail from Yunnan province to Kachin state, Myanmar, opened a few years ago, I visited the Lisu tribe living in the border villages. I worried much about the sanitation, food hygiene and the “exotic” meat they would serve. I was delighted to be served a fish for both lunch and dinner. Later I learned that a villager had caught this fish in the morning and offered to the church. They had this custom to offer to any visiting missionary whatever they caught. But I realized that I was the second missionary to visit since 1989. Reflecting on the incredible odds of catching a relatively large fish in a river with hardly any fish, being the second missionary to come in 27 years and the timely catch, I gave thanks to God knowing that He had answered my prayer and provided. All glory to God in the highest !