Dear Ezra and Lian,
I got off the train late in the evening in Guwahati, Assam, India in February, 2000. At that time, the city was a dangerous place. Over the years there have been bombings there. The wild, wild east of India. I tried to find the bus station and a bus for Mizoram. I spent a long time wandering around a very dicey part of the city trying to do that in the dark. Finally, I got on a bus.
First, we made our way up the mountains to Shilong in the state of Meghalaya. We had a layover there. Many people got off and new people got on. This was a little bit of a risky journey. I knew that your aunt and the shared jeep she traveled in had once been stopped by bandits/rebels on these roads. By bus, this trip would take about 14 hours on a roller coaster ride over mountains, along narrow, pot-holed roads mostly with no guardrails. I had been travelling for days straight across India. I was stressed and anxious and very tired.
Before the bus engine started, an elderly Mizo man prayed for a safe journey. I would come to find out that this happens all the time in Mizoram. The bus pulled away and began to make the long, slow journey to Aizawl. Not 1 minute passed before a young Mizo man began to sign a Mizo song. Then others joined in with perfect harmonies. Young and old alike sang along. Then I knew I was truly on my way to Mizoram. The Mizos had me right then and there. It was like a switch had been flicked on in my heart. I was in love with these people.
The singing went on for hours. They were mostly strangers, but they were united in song. Throughout the trip, I saw Mizo community spirit (Tlawmngaina ) in action. Young people talked to old people. People looked out for one another (especially when we stopped in Silchar).
I didn’t really realize that by the time I arrived in Aizawl, I was a new man. That bus ride changed my life. The course of my life has been forever altered because I got on that bus.
Here’s the thing, kids. If someone had shown me all the things that would happen by getting on that bus, I would have run away. Even if I knew all the amazing things coming my way like you two, I could never knowingly volunteer for everything else. I only had enough faith to get on the bus. I didn’t have enough faith to live at the bus’s destination or endure the journey. Running away would have been a terrible mistake. I’m thankful I didn’t.
One of God’s greatest mercies to humanity is that we don’t know the future events of our lives. We may get sneak peeks, but we could never handle all the details. God is pulling up in His bus. He has opened the doors. I ask, “Where are we going?” God replies, “Do you trust me?”
“What’s going to happen?”
“Do you trust me?”
“Are we going to be ok?”
“Do you trust me?” Hold my hands, kids. We’re getting on board. Enjoy the ride.