I went to Asia the first time four years ago. I lived in a remote village (like the one above), and in a two month period, I only went to a town once. I worked outside from sunrise to sunset with my friends. Then after dark, we’d cook and clean up, pray, and go to bed. I worked 16 hours a day.
Except for during Bible training.
Then life went from bone-tired to insanity. We’d work all day in the Mississippi-like-humid heat, then around dusk motorcycles would pull into the village, shoes would go off, and people would stay up studying until the wee hours of the morning. Then everyone would join me where I slept on the left, and the visitors would wake up early (as in 5 a.m.), climb down the loft, start training again, and keep getting trained while I fed the pigs, cut firewood, and prepared lunch.
And then the visitors would disappear around the mountains and take the training to other villages (of the same tribe) in two different countries. Just. Like. Acts.
I was shocked. My definition of church was sub-culture: homeschooling-courtship-veggie tales- WWJD-Jesus-is-my-home-boy-T-shirts.
Their definition of the church was small group teaching and prayer.
Also, I was amazed that these people had never heard of homeschooling or courtship or any of the anything that, to me, represented what it meant to be a Christian. And I slept on the same loft as men. OMG.
And all this meant terrible culture shock when I finished my internship and went to the US. The fact that I had not slept in insulated walls or on a bed was bad enough. But I wanted to bang my head against the wall when my friends said believers must do courtship. I just kept shaking my head, “but my friends overseas. They never did courtship.”
And the stupid little rules that everyone had on keeping guys and girls so far apart seems stiffing. A few days after I got back, I went camping in the high mountains of Colorado with my homeschool friends. It was 25 degrees F at night. And so I announced that I was sleeping outside in the open stairs in front of the campfire, and I invited my friends to join. But, like any good homeschool guy, one of my friends insisted in sleeping in a tent all by himself to keep his distance from girls.
Suddenly my evangelical-homeschool world felt really, really small.