Last week there was a special meeting in Picoco, where women from five of the Palavra Viva (Living Word) churches gathered together.
There was singing, prayer, teaching, fellowship, and...eating. I've been thinking about the importance of eating in relation to showing love and building relationships.
I heard a story about a foreign missionary in western Africa many years ago. An African man once said to him, "You may love our souls, but you don't love us as people." When the missionary asked why the man felt this way, he said, "because you don't eat our food."
Of course there are many ways to show love and we should love through our actions, words, things, and time...but I think we can also show love through eating.
During the meal at the meeting, I noticed that many of the women were watching me as I ate my bowl of xima. When I smiled at them with my mouth full of food, I was met with huge grins and lots of thumbs up :)
I'm doing much listening and observing, and I'm beginning to understand a little and talk a bit, and I'm trying to be helpful and encouraging. But if I'm not yet showing love in any other way...at least I can eat!