Stories in Stamps
AN INDIAN PASSPORT is not an easy passport to travel with. The dramas that come with it are aplenty. Despite all that, both my passports are filled with stamps I’ve accumulated over the last several months of travelling. But these are more than just stamps – they are stories! They represent the lives of people we’ve had the privilege to meet.
From Thailand: A kiwi couple who speak fluent Thai invest in a generation of Thai young people. Another couple, dearly missing their children, serve in a small village. Still a third couple raise two little girls in a foreign land while running a café ministry to impact local university students.
To Laos: A young couple expect their first baby while faithfully teaching primary school students. The mother of eight who drove me to the border with her six month old in their small green car.
And in Cambodia: A family with three little kids, who just sold everything so they could move there to work with the neglected and vulnerable.
And in Indonesia, the interns who helped orientate us around a new island and culture: The homesick 21 year old who loved being there with all his heart. The couple trying to learn the language while helping their kids through culture shock and overcoming the trauma of having their house robbed.
And don’t forget the young couple, who just moved from the city to a remote, small village to live amongst a Least Reached People group, where their American English/OZ English/Indonesian speaking two year old keeps running out into the village, where he gets sweet treats from the locals. Meanwhile his parents are trying to build a gate and make a safe home for him and his baby brother!
I was amazed and inspired by every single one of these lives we came across. As different as they were, they all had one thing in common. They have all left their homes, their language, their culture, and their safe and comfortable lives to be where they are now. And in the midst of the admiration I felt, I couldn’t help but hear this question: Why?!
I don’t think I’d do justice answering that question. But watching them love the people they are there for, seeing their passion and dedication in the midst of the seemingly endless challenges and knowing the fruit and value of their presence there, I’d say, why not? And that’s a question you can ask yourself today.
Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age …. along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mark 10:28-31
Peny together with her husband David Elliott are based in New Zealand.