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Green leaves also fall

We’ve been to many funerals in 9 years serving as missionaries with the Akha people.

Some of those early funerals were shocking experiences, like the time when I was awoken, placed on a motorcycle and driven to a neighboring village without any understanding what was happening until I came into a hut and saw the body of a woman who had died from AIDS on the floor, a casket beside her, and a family of mourners looking for a pastor. Other funerals were almost comical experiences, like the time when Lori and I tried to walk with two 60-year old women to a funeral during rainy season, only to arrive an hour later covered head-to-toe in mud and the butt of every joke that the mourners told that day.

But as the years went on and our Akha family grew, we have gone from being outsiders observing a funeral to mourners attending one. But nothing has been like this past month.

We have been to Maesalong three times in this past month. We have taken part in a funeral each time.

It has been very hard. Not for those who have gone on to peace, but for those of us who remain behind and who feel their absence.

We lost an Akha mother, who has cared for us and for teams that have visited our village. Who loved and served the church, her family, her people and even strangers until she succumbed to her battle with kidney failure.

We lost an Akha grandmother, who invested her life into her grandchildren and held tightly to Akha traditions, never removing her headdress, even as she held tightly to her Saviour until her advanced years took her peacefully.

We lost an Akha brother. A young man, and one of our first and greatest village friends. One whose massive frame held a gentle spirit, and who always would put others ahead of himself. He was taken from us shockingly, when his poor decisions and the irresponsibility of another driver took him from us suddenly.

It is in these events that we know we have become knitted together with our family here. When our tears fall alongside theirs, when we question “why?” together.

And we answer the “Why?” together as well, by sharing peace from the Author of peace; by the life of the community that goes on; through the Word that brings hope; and through the truth woven into the fabric of Akha culture through their proverbs:

Falling is not solely for yellow leaves,
green leaves also fall

- Akha proverb -

To every thing there is a season.

Please join us in prayer for our Akha friends and family in Maesalong as we walk through this season of loss together.

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5 Responses to “Green leaves also fall”

  1. Chad Witt, Jan 20, 2014 Reply

    Paul & Lori, I’m so sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing these stories with us. I am praying for you and for your community of friends and family there, that the love and peace of the Father may fill you all with hope and joy in the midst of such sadness. Hang in there, friends.

  2. marlene folsom, Jan 22, 2014 Reply

    Sorry to hear of the losses for your Village. You didn’t mention the names of the deceased, and I am wondering if I haven’t met all three of them. We will talk, when I see you in a few weeks. In the meantime, I am praying for you, and everyone else in Maesalong. I have many fond memories of my visits there, and the wonderful meals, fellowship, and friendships I treasure there.
    My love in Christ,
    Marlene

  3. Sherry Tiedemann, Feb 18, 2014 Reply

    Paul and Lori,
    The Word tells in Romans 12:15 Rejoice with one who rejoices and mourn with one who mourns. I pray the Holy Spirit’s comfort for your community and that God will encourage all of you. May he multiply your body many times over. I was so touched by your story. I leave in the Easter Sierra Mountains in California.

    In our loving Savior, Jesus Christ,
    Sherry Tiedemann

  4. thank you Sherry! we appreciate your prayers for our friends and community.

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