Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Malaysia: Church Day

On our first Sunday in Malaysia, we attended to the local church that the missionaries we worked with were familiar. Trooping in, we sat right up front and waited for worship to begin. I wasn't sure what to expect, but the worship and preaching and overall structure of the service were not all that unfamiliar. They had a longer time of worship than we tend to have at my home church in Montana, and it was sweet. Then our missionary friend preached.

The church service was foundational in laying out my attitude for the next two weeks. Initially, I had some deep concerns about going to Malaysia that centered around my having to give up some control over my choices, especially regarding food and my eating disorder. In fact, if you had asked me if I wanted to back out of going, I might have said yes. Thankfully, that didn't happen. But still, even though I was in-country, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to "let go and let God," as the saying goes.

That first Sunday's church service helped me to do just that. One woman, after giving announcements, was talking about how morning is coming for the city, that corruption and sin and depression are going to be washed away by God's redeeming freedom. I believed it for the city, for the country and the world, but most of all, I believed it for me. I felt the Holy Spirit talking to me, saying that morning isn't just coming -- morning is here. Right now. Freedom from food worries, from relational issues, is already come into my life. God isn't just going to win the victory over my sickness, but he already has. Done and done! I'm not a crier, usually, but I definitely shed tears that morning.

After church, we continued our weekend of rest. We hung out with our missionary friends all day. First we got some lunch at a nearby food court. This is very typical of how prepared meals are sold in Malaysia. There's a big area filled with small stalls. Each stall might sell only one dish, but can prepare more. At this particular food court I ordered some sort of spicy Thai dish with mango and red chillies. I didn't quite realize how spicy it was, even though our missionary friends kept asking me if I wanted some water. It wasn't until after I finished my lunch and drank a big honeydew Icee-style drink that I understood the power of the chillies -- my mouth was still on fire! One thing I noticed over the course of my trip was that, even though I tend to avoid spicy foods here in the States, in Malaysia I not only tried hot dishes but also enjoyed them.

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"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King