Andrew came to the door and softly called us from our sleep. Oh, 4 a.m. Already? It was such a short night…
We hurriedly took our baths, and grabbed our good clothes, hopped on the motor bike and sped away into the night. It was not far to Khen’s house, where lights and activity showed that the preparations were well under way. I wondered if they slept at all last night!
In the kitchen vegetables were being chopped, and the fires started for the soup. Upstairs, Khen was putting the final touches on the living room in preparation for the big event of the day. I set to work cleaning glasses and bowls, Andrew prepared coconuts, while Roy put the coconuts through the grinder. Delicious smells started emanating from the kitchen.
Next I started cutting fruit for the fruit salad, while Roy carved watermelons into cute little baskets to hold it. This was my last minute brainstorm…but when it comes to actually doing it, I let the more artistic members of the family take over! Pretty soon, some of the school kids joined us, and our fruit salad began to take shape rapidly, but not a minute too soon. There was just time to rush upstairs and help arrange fruit platters before the guests began to arrive.
One by one they filed into the living room, trying to scrutinize Andrew’s parents inconspicuously. The more outgoing members of the congregation openly commented on the way we sit, our skin, the color of our hair…normal stuff.
Tim called the meeting to order with prayer, which was followed by singing “to make our hearts happy”. This was followed by a discussion on how much the bride price was, and the handing over of the funds to the brides mother. (which she took with a beaming face!)
Next Tim preached a short sermon about Abraham sending his servant to choose a bride for his son, and also Jacobs misadventures with his engagement and the bride price he had to pay. Fortunately, all present agreed that Andrew should not have to work 7 years to marry Khen, and that the money given would suffice.
This was followed by Andrew and Khen making engagement promises to each other and exchanging watches. (which also evoked quite the discussion…why did they do that instead of giving rings???) But, the older members of the audience agreed that it was much more practical, so they gave their blessing on these Christians with their strange ideas. Andrew and Khen prayed for each other, and then they brought out all the food.
It was a delicious meal of noodles with fresh vegetables and a broth to pour over it, with lime on the side, then of course the fruit salad and fruit plates. It was really good! (Especially since it was getting late and we were starved!)
As soon as most of the guests left, Khen’s extended family could not contain themselves any longer. Roy and I were still sitting against the wall, and the whole tribe sat and faced us and started asking questions. They were so curious about us! I would have been pretty nervous, but they were all smiling, so I grabbed the camera and took a picture so that you could see what it is like to be the center of attention. They told us how young we look, and insisted on knowing how old we are. (I could not remember, but this time, Roy had all the numbers straight)
As soon as the interrogation was over, I started to help Khen clean up, while Andrew ran Roy to the bus station. But, this caused a great uproar, and I was told in no uncertain terms that I must sit down and rest. So, I am sitting here against the wall watching them clean up and counting my blessings.
God is so good to us. Khen’s family is not Christian, but they are sweet and friendly. Her Mom is not greedy, but is planning to spend a great deal of that bride price on Khen. (they will go shopping together tomorrow morning) I am praying that through Andrew and Khen’s influence, her whole family can be in heaven with us.