A few months ago, I sat on the front porch of a national missionary-pastor’s house watching village life pass by while his wife worked in the kitchen to serve us the most extravagant meal she could create on short notice. Villagers flowed in and out of their home—some to talk about recent deaths in the community, some to gawk at the foreigners, some to ask for advice. As I caught segments of conversations, I was struck by how raw village life seemed, but I was even more amazed to see these two quiet, unassuming people—outsiders from a different village far away—humbly share Christ in the midst of such darkness. I saw in them a deep, real gratitude and passion for praising God that I couldn’t quite understand from where I sat on their front porch.
I was excited to see this same couple at my church here in the “city” where I live. They were here for a church conference. The wife stood and shared about recent trials, the isolation they endure interior, and the heartbreaking story of a recent miscarriage she experienced.
I cried as I heard this precious woman’s story, remembering my time on her front porch witnessing raw village life for the first time. In a soft, tear-tinged voice she thanked God for things I take for granted. She praised God for the MAF pilot that came to pick her up and take her to a hospital. She did not deny the struggles she faces on a daily basis, but rather than complain, she was grateful and full of praise for her Savior.
I have learned something from my new friend—whether we are facing heart-wrenching trials or the small annoyances of our daily lives, God is worthy of our praise. Being grateful does not come naturally to any of us—but I’ve seen the light in a woman’s eyes as she thanked the Lord for His love in the midst of unimaginable loss, poverty, and heartache. If she can be grateful—truly grateful—so can I.