Being on the mission field, part one

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Prior to going to Guatemala, I gave my middle OS a project. A crafting project. Most 14 year old boys don’t really like doing crafts. My 14 year old boy is no exception but with constant prodding on behalf of his mom, my son made these…

Aren’t they pretty? So simple and cheap but I just know that God is going to use that boy and these necklaces in a powerful way. How do I know? Because two years ago I had a similar experience. Not with a craft item but with a simple bottle of shampoo.

In July 2007, I went to Lima, Peru on a mission trip. Prior to leaving my hairstylist, (the one who puts pink highlights in my hair), gave me a big bottle of Bumble and Bumble shampoo to use there. Not for my head, there would be no vanity on this trip, but because we were going to be washing children’s hair. In certain areas of Peru, people can’t even afford shampoo, it is a luxury they often do without. I packed it eagerly curious as to what the Lord had in store.

Weeks later, to my astonishment, I found myself washing children’s hair on a filthy, dirt-covered street. The kids would just line up and with nary a peep, we would pour cold water from a hose on their head. With plastic gloves, I would squirt a dollop of shampoo on their little charcoal black heads and proceed to wash their thick Peruvian hair. We used buckets to rinse the water and their attentive mothers would just look on and act so grateful. It was rather amusing because there were even adult men lining up for our hair washing services but we had to decline and concentrate just on the kids.

It was our last day on the mission field. The big bottle of shampoo I was given had been too cumbersome to lug around for our hair washing projects so I still had it in my possession. I certainly wasn’t going to be taking it back home with me. I trusted it was meant for someone else so I placed big bottle in my backpack determined to give it to someone deserving.

We arrived at an impoverished village. The ramshackle homes spoke of a hard life bereft of most creature comforts. I helped prepare chicken foot (yes, chicken FOOT) soup and served hot chocolate to the scads of children milling about.
Another group washed hair and when we were nearly all done, a mother approached me. Through the help of a translator, she asked me if we cut hair. I knew I didn’t cut hair so I went the easy route and said we didn’t have any scissors. Then she told me, not to worry, she had scissors.

Because I’m so quick on my feet (HA!), I presumed someone could do it and I told this mama we could probably do that. I went inside the bus and asked if anyone cut hair. No one listened to me and then it occurred to me that she wanted ME to cut her child’s hair…something I have never done before, not in my own country and certainly not in South America…


I’ll write another post and tell you what happened next…
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