We were busy cleaning up our house today–quite a way to spend the day off–and suddenly heard our gate opening and shouting in the yard. We ran to the window to find some our neighbors shouting between each other and running around frantically.
Something was happening. Or as we soon learned, someone was coming.
And for the next little while, we had six guests hiding behind our house. There is a small walkway that goes past our water tank and behind the house along the drainage canal.
We brought them a bowl of oranges.
There were so many things to communicate: You are welcome here; stay as long as you need. Is there something we can do to help? What is happening? Who is coming? Can I get you anything? What do I do while you hide?
So we gave them oranges.
I snuck out the backdoor and simply bent down to give them a bowl full of little oranges, attempting to communicate friendship, welcome, support, encouragement, and love in one fell swoop. One little bowl of oranges.
I suppose the story was really told in their faces.
The older woman, maybe in her seventies or eighties–she looked scared.
And the men–they hung their heads; in embarrassment, it seemed.
And the teenage girls, who have spent many an afternoon playing in our yard, just brightened at the oranges.
The gate was left shut, and after some time everyone came out from hiding. They thanked us and left.
As we were preparing to move to Thailand, someone shared a story with us about a missionary who was living in a village and often welcomed the locals into her home. People were often visiting, and one day a young girl came to simply sit with her. The girl explained that for everyone in the village, this was their favorite place to be because it was peaceful.
We have prayed that over our house: that our house would be a place of peace and safety. That the Lord’s presence would be felt here; that in some way it might be a sanctuary.
Maybe a sanctuary that provides oranges when necessary.
Later this afternoon, we found a man sleeping on our porch chair. This is a unique situation–there are few adults that will come around the house. They seem hesitant, and much more keen to watch the children from the road.
And we hope that today it might be because he just felt he could sleep peacefully.