Loaded down with people, our truck struggled to climb the steep, rutted trail of a road. It rocked back and forth, knocking peoples heads against the windows. We were slowly making our way up the mountain for a short mission trip to a Hmong village.
It was very late by the time we arrived at the village. Darkness had fallen hours before, and we had not eaten supper. Thankfully, food had been prepared ahead of time, so I scooped up a plateful for Hope and Haven to eat before they collapsed in our tent, exhausted from traveling.
The next morning, we awakened bright and early to the calls of hundreds of roosters and curious little faces peeking through our windows. After we ate breakfast, there was some free time before we began our planned activity of cleaning up the village. I grabbed our camera to take some pictures, especially of the curious people who were sitting on the roadside, watching us intently.
A grandma was sitting near one group of people, carefully stitching designs onto a piece of embroidery. I snapped a few pictures of her and turned to take a few pictures of a young lady and some children a few feet away. She smiled, and her eyes sparkled. Do you speak Thai? I asked her.
Yes, I do, she responded. What are you all doing here? Did you come on a fun outing?
Yes, but we also came to help clean up the village and to have a program for the children and a concert. What is your name?
Maay, she replied.
We talked a little longer, and I wished there was some way to share more deeply with her. Later on, as Hope and I were picking up trash in the grass field where our tent was pitched, Maay walked past with some children and other ladies. Your children are so beautiful, she said. I thanked her and asked if she had any children. I had seen her taking care of a few different children that morning, but she said no, she was not married yet. We smiled at each other, and she kept walking while Hope and I continued with our work.
I didnt see Maay again during our time in that Hmong village, but our brief interaction left me feeling that we could have been great friends. I hope to see her again and have more opportunity to get to know her, but I havent gotten a chance to return to her area.
I pray that the small interaction I had with Maay will leave an impression for good. I pray that the words I spoke and my actions will cause her to inquire about the God of heaven. I pray that Maay will have more opportunities to hear words of truth and learn more about the God who made the mountains she calls home. I pray we will meet again one day in our eternal home where we will have eternity to become great friends.