“Man man chi,” ZB’s father was saying to me. I’ve heard this phrase countless times. It literally means “eat slowly,” but it’s a hospitable, polite way of telling people to keep eating. Eat more!
Recently I was visiting my really good friend, ZB. The very first time we hung out together, she invited me to come to her house for the Asian New Year. At that time (way back in September), I thought she was being overly friendly, so I didn’t give it another thought, but over the past few months our friendship has really developed; ZB is now one of my closest friends, and it was my pleasure to accept her invitation. After spending a day traveling back from our annual retreat in Thailand, I repacked and spent the next day traveling to her hometown, way up in the north of Asia.
Even though I was tired, I was enamored by the snow and the cold, reminiscing about my own hometown’s winters which I haven’t experienced in 3 years. My breath came out in visible puffs; my nose hairs tingled and threatened to freeze. WOW! This place was COLD! The Jack Frost on the bus windows was breathtaking! I almost cried looking at the details meticulously etched on the glass. Spring Festival (the Asian New Year) had arrived, and I was in the North!
Now we were eating a traditional dinner on the eve of the Spring Festival together with ZB’s whole family. I mean, the WHOLE family! Everyone had come back home for Spring Festival. Her Grandma hosted the event at her house; the eldest uncle cooked all the food; and everyone else (the 6 aunts and uncles, plus their one child and the child’s boyfriend or girlfriend) was responsible to eat as much as they could. More than 20 dishes crowded the table, waiting to be eaten (I really felt like some of them were calling my name!), but we paused, and ZB’s family asked me to pray a blessing over the food.
I prayed in Asian. In the midst of all the traditional expressions of celebrating the coming of the new year, I had a chance in front of ZB’s extended family to say something about God! When it was just the 4 of us (ZB, her mother and father and me), we had more opportunities to talk. ZB’s father explained he already bel*eved in J, and her mother decided ZB should marry a Christian. I was able to give them some worship music in Asian too! They played it over and over! Seeds are being planted in ZB and her family!
My prayer for them is now “man man chi.” Keep eating! There’s so much more for them to grasp about God and the relationship He desires to have with us. I want to help ZB get a Bible soon, so she can read more about it. Pray with me that they’ll make the decision to be followers of Jesus Christ and give him their whole lives! Pray their hunger for more of God would increase!