Being in town for our safety has been hard on me. Every day, I pray for the people in our villages as I do my daily tasks.
As I walk into the market I am surrounded by so many people, all with their own needs and agendas. I enjoy greeting the regulars I have met. I spot a shy child watching me intently from behind a dozen fresh coconuts. I squat down and ask if she will open a coconut for me. After paying, I walk away drinking refreshing coconut water. A dozen women have noted my kindness to one of their children.
I continue on and buy greens, bananas, mangoes, avocado and other produce. The variety available in the town market is much greater than in the village, and I enjoy it while we are here.
The vegetable market has reasonable prices, and hard bargaining is frowned upon. Often women will add an extra vegetable to my bag.
In the tobacco section of the market, I set my bag of produce on the floor and sit down beside my friend Lucy. After a warm hug and normal greetings, Lucy begins sharing her concerns. “Pray for my husband and me. We aren’t talking very well right now.” Then, she changes topics. “I am a Seventh-day Adventist in my heart, only I smoke and I chew betelnut, and I grow and sell tobacco, so I am no longer a member of the Adventist Church.”
My heart aches for her. She knows that what she is doing is wrong, but she hasn’t let the love and power of Jesus come into her life and truly change her. As I wrap my arms around her and pray for her needs, I silently plead with God to use my friendship to help bring her back into the Adventist Church.
As I take my leave, more women greet me warmly. They love me and love having me in their market. As I carry my bag of produce back out the crowded gate, I remember I am here to serve God, and I pray that He will use my daily interactions to bring others to know Christ.
VILLAGE SITUATION UPDATE:
The Lawrences were able to safely return to their home in the village for a visit. You can read about their trip in an upcoming issue.