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Crowned with Laurels …or Silver

The name Lori means “Crowned with Laurels”, taken from a term used to give the winner of a contest a wreath on their head. It is not a wreath of leaves, but my Lori was recently “crowned” for a different honor many years in the making.

For years, Lori has loved looking at the beautiful Akha headdresses on the heads of our close friends. But she wouldn’t buy one.

Her reluctance reflected our ministry goal to incarnationally meet the Akha where they are spiritually, physically, emotionally and culturally. Although there were, and always will be, obvious differences between ourselves and our Akha friends, we did not want to show up and throw money around to make our outer appearance seem more seasoned, more accepted, than we actually were.

Our first truck was testimony to that, as was our first Akha home, and the fact that we didn’t have a bathroom in our hut for the first year.

In the same way, we didn’t want to just walk in and buy amazing Akha costumes and parade around in them as if we were Akha, we wanted to grow with our people incarnationally. Through the years we slowly received gifts of beautiful Akha bags and clothes, we purchased simple and then more ornate Akha coats and built our appearance as our language and relationships grew.

But Lori still didn’t have a headdress.

A few months ago we were going through our things and came across some old US silver coins that Lori’s grandmother had given her before she passed away. These pieces had new meaning to us after spending so many years inculturated with a people whose traditions lie in passing silver coins from generation to generation. We knew that we wanted to add these pieces to Lori’s headdress when the day finally came.

And after 9 years of full-time service, after naming 3 children and spending countless hours laughing, crying, teaching and learning in the Akha language, the day has finally come.

We bought Lori an authentic Akha headdress (made of metal, not silver) which she will wear “out” for the first time at the Akha Outreach graduation 0n March 1st.

The process of buying a headdress is involved because once you have found one that meets your standards, it then has to be customized to fit to your head… which means more Akha community! So Lori brought out her new headdress at the Women’s Conference last week and all the women joined in in customizing her crowning Akha glory.

Even this headdress is something that we will continue to build into through the years. We will slowly add real silver pieces to replace the metal ones, attach additional silver chains and ornaments and personalize it to my beautiful wife.

But for now, our American Akha beauty is very satisfied.

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4 Responses to “Crowned with Laurels …or Silver”

  1. Chad Witt, Feb 18, 2014 Reply

    Congratulations, Lori!! It’s beautiful. And thank you both for sharing this beautiful story with us. Love you guys. :-)

  2. Thanks Chad! Hope to see you during our stateside travels!

  3. Jenny R, Feb 19, 2014 Reply

    Congratulations! It looks good on you Lori, too fun & an exciting new phase to move in to. Love you guys!!

  4. Betty Thom, Feb 19, 2014 Reply

    Paul and Lori,
    That you accepted the Akha people and their lifestyle is no surprise. God called you to do this. Whether or not it was an easy thing I don’t know. But you’ve never posted complaints, so if it was hard, things like homesick, missing things “American”, or whatever else, it didn’t deter you from your calling.
    That the Akha accepted you into their lives is not a surprise either. Not only that they recognize God’s call, but they also recognize the real, Godly love you have for them.
    They are blessed to have you – all 5 of you, and you are blessed to have them in your lives.
    I am blessed to know you and have you in my life too. Love you great big! <3
    p.s. I'd still like to see Paul in traditional male clothing. :-) xoxo

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