Stacey cited a couple of examples that had recently occurred at their church. One morning the lady sitting behind her during the worship service put her head on Stacey’s back and then fell asleep! She could never recall anything quite like that happening during church here in the USA. Their church facility is essentially made out of leaves. It has palm fronds for walls and the roof is thatched, made of various kinds of leaves woven together. One Sunday morning during church she became aware that some kind of winged creature was eating through the roof right over her head. She thought about looking up to figure out if it was some sort of small bird or a large insect. Fortunately before the creature made it all the way through the roof the service ended. It seems to me that could be a bit distracting. However, she then shared about something that would be even more distracting. She said that biting ants routinely fall from the “ceiling” onto the worshippers during the worship services and bite them!
I got a pretty good laugh out of those stories. But they also impacted me in some more significant ways. First, of course, they caused me to once again be impressed with people like the Hares. They have ventured far outside the typical American zone of comfort and are living in a place that is both foreign and often difficult. When Stacy wrote about them watching a neighbor cooking rats for their meals or seeing women eating caterpillars and grasshoppers with relish, I just shuddered. Our brothers and sisters who are boldly taking on challenges like that deserve our admiration, to be sure, but also our support and prayer.
The second way those stories impacted me is to make me grateful. No matter how things go at church, I’ve never once had to deal with a biting ant fall on me during a worship service and attacking me. That such a thing could happen has never even crossed my mind. It hit me hard that I ought to be hugely grateful that we can actually have our worship services in a building that has heating, cooling and lights. What a blessing that is! My children grew up with so much more than tires to play with. What abundance we have been given. Reading Stacey’s words hit home big time. I should be content with whatever I have in terms of circumstances, for it is far better than they have on their best day. And I should be profoundly grateful to God every moment of every day. Profoundly and constantly grateful.