It was a dreamlike morning. Sunrise peeking over the rock mountains, hands wrapped around a cafe au lait, blooming hydrangeas all around the stone pathways and the name of the place? The Garden of the King. Again, I say it was a dreamlike morning as I sat on the patio journaling and reflecting on Psalm 21. Calm, peaceful, serene morning that filled me with creativity and sheer praise to my Maker for life itself. Truly, as the psalmist wrote, “in God’s strength, God’s victories, God’s glory there is joy.” I was filled with joy that morning. The kind of joy that comes easily.
It was such an interesting morning two weeks later in the little Malagasy hotel. Communal living at it’s finest. It resembled the inside of a terribly run-down stable. Pentagon, or maybe some other shape than 4-sided, the crumbling hotel walls wrapped around an interior picnic area with a grass roof covering. The individual rooms all emptied into this communal area where rickety picnic tables and sticky tablecloths halfheartedly welcomed us. The shared potties and washing buckets were a sight that I was accustomed to but this trip seemed unnaturally, well, gross. There was a trough area that ran through the middle of the hotel where you could dump a bucket of water over your hands to wash or lean over to brush your teeth. Primitive was written all over this place. I opened my journal that morning to write my thoughts and my eyes skimmed over the previous entry that I had written while at Garden of the King. As I compared this place to a stable, I actually laughed out loud at the irony of the Christ-child leaving His kingly gardens to enter a world of gross stables!
We were on a journey to scout and map our adopted mission area. As we passed through this village to meet with a believer whom my husband knew, we were staying in this hotel for the night. Other than encouraging this other believer and giving him details for an upcoming Bible training, we would not have stayed in such a place. But, for the sake of the mission, it is where we landed.
As I drank my morning coffee at the sticky picnic table after an interesting night’s rest, I was filled with joy. Not exactly the kind that comes easily, but the kind that comes through His Strength.
When I am having a difficult day living amidst a strange people I am comforted by the fact that Jesus allowed himself to live amongst strangeness. He planted Himself within a sin-marred world with all the dinginess and grossness that goes with it to live and give a message of hope. I am a Child of the King and I am passing through this world worshipping my Lord and Savior. Someday I will sit in His Kingly garden forever.


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