It was 10 o’clock on a Sunday morning, and the neighbors were expecting us. An elderly lady had lost her husband very suddenly, and we were invited to the three-day funeral.
We were with Bo and Kristen Hutchison, and they were the ones who received the invitation. Always interested in meeting people and experiencing something new, I was happy to accept when they invited me to come along.
We climbed up the steep, rickety steps into the humble home on stilts. This was a very poor family, yet they generously spread food before us that they could ill afford. They knew that we did not eat meat normally, so they had prepared vegetables and rice with fried eggs. Such a gracious act of hospitality! We felt compelled to honor them by eating this second breakfast.
I listened to the lively conversation in Khmer. The family’s poverty and their sad faces gripped my heart. Bo filled me in on the details of the passing of th 78-year-old man. Just the day before, he had gone fishing. At the 5 a.m. Muslim call to prayer that morning he had told his wife he didn’t feel well. Then he died a short time later, leaving his widow to struggle on alone.
Oh how I longed to tell her of the hope we have in Jesus, of His love and care for her in her sorrow and grief! But that privilege fell to Bo. He has earned the respect and appreciation of these neighbors, and he has learned their language. I felt happy to be there to support them with smiles and hugs despite the language barrier.
What a blessing it was to be with the Hutchison family who are building strong relationships in this community of Muslim families. As they live and work with their neighbors, their strong Christian presence is breaking down barriers and making an eternal difference.