A memorable evening
Trip Start Apr 12, 2011
17Trip End May 01, 2011
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Late in the afternoon I drove back to the Prodigues’ house in Rivière des Anguilles for a quiet dinner that the little church group, along with some additional family members, would share. It was a pleasantly memorable evening that started with a meal of salads, chicken curry (Mrs. Prodigue is of Indian background and makes great curry), rice, pumpkin, meat samosas (small closed pastries filled with vegetable curry or meat), and delicious unleavened chapatti (whole-wheat Indian bread – similar to nan). Dessert was a custard pudding with fresh fruit and tapioca.
Taking turns we shared our personal stories about how we came to our faith. In some cases it took decades with many starts and stops, sometimes it took much less time. Sometimes there was a defining "light bulb turning on" moment from learning this or that truth in the Bible; sometimes the process was much more gradual and homogeneous. Often the personal example of a friend or sibling was a key element. We also shared the stories of our baptisms. I started off with my story of being baptized at age 19 in the Mekong River on the border between Thailand and Laos at a time when I was teaching English in a refugee camp. We were observed by communist soldiers on the other bank who were constantly on guard against whatever happened on the Thai side. That is still a vivid memory for me.
For others present on this evening, their baptisms occurred in the ocean or in a swimming pool. It was encouraging and thought-provoking to relieve those important spiritual milestones. Then we talked about people in the Bible whose stories particularly resonated with us and why. Men mentioned Joseph with whom God began working at a young age and who matured through difficult trials, and Abraham who had to make a clean break with his former life to follow God, and Joshua who was a sort of “second-generation” servant of God. Ladies mentioned Sarah for her faith, perseverance, and submission to her husband, Ruth for her faith and faithfulness, and Esther for her courage and commitment. This discussion was also very interesting and helped us all get to know one another better.
Around the table were people of very different national and cultural backgrounds: Tamil and Indian and Creole and European-American; former Hindus, Catholics and Protestants. Now we shared a common vision, values and goals and felt ourselves part of a very particular Christian brotherhood. It was heartwarming.
We talked until after 10:00 pm before finally going our separate ways for the night.