Recently we were sick, ALL of us! Isaac was sick with one thing after another for two and a half, and the family joined him with the stomach bug (or food poisoning?) and then a virus that really knocked us all out. We spent the better part of several days with all five of us laying in bed, struggling to gather the strength to get up and cook and eat something. It got to feeling pretty desperate when our groceries were out but having dizzy and cold sweats in not an ideal situation to load up five people in a car and drive 30 minutes into town for a full shopping trip. Whew. We were overwhelmed and asked for prayer on facebook.
Our sense of isolation was increased by the fact that most of our teammates are on furlough in America right now, and sickness had also also hit the one family left in town. A teammate from across the island offered to fly to be with us, which was so sweet, but it would take two days to get to us, and it struck me as I pondered the offer that perhaps not having many teammates close by would allow us to be in a position of dependence on our local community. And truly, being dependent on each other, mutual dependence, is a gift that allows relationships to grow in depth and love and mutuality. Instead of just coming to serve, we serve each other.
And truly, this week, we were served. When our Indonesian community found out that we were sick, we were flooded with requests to come and pray for us and help in any way we needed. One friend came and helped clean up my home when I could not get out of bed. Three different people brought groceries for us. My neighbor appeared at my door and prayed over me. We may be across the world from our families and passport cultures, but the Body of Christ cared for us this week, and I am so touched!
Accepting help cross-culturally isn't always 100% comfortable. People showed up at our door unnannounced at 7am and 9pm, while we were laying in bed and didn't feel like receiving visitors, but that's an American mentality, in which we are individuals and our private space must be guarded. In a communal culture, we would be blessed by community with us at any time. Also, it did make us chuckle to see our friends try to interpret which groceries Americans would appreciate. We ended up with five loaves of bread because everyone knows Americans eat bread!
In any case, the lesson learned for me is to reach out for help among my local community when I need it, and to accept help even when it is uncomfortable.