“Ride a horse.”
“Hhhrid-ee. A. Harse.”
“Ride a horse.”
“Rid-ee … a … ho-arse.”
When we’d first arrived in their little huddle of tents, they spotted our white faces and you could almost see their pupils turn into dollar signs. Not that I blame them – there was only one plausible reason we’d gone all the way out there.
To rent their horses and head off into the Himalaya. Never mind that it was pouring rain.
They couldn’t say it in English, but they could pantomime it for us, and if that wasn’t enough, by the end of the conversation, I had the nose of a conveniently placed (albeit very wet) horse poking me in the back.
My friend C could speak the regional language, and she told them, “We don’t want tourism. We want to sit in your tent with you and have tea and talk.”
Well, then. Come on.
The four of us and about eight of them piled into a small but very warm tent, cramming as close to the stove in the center as we could. A lady with rosy cheeks ladled some already prepared yak milk tea from a pot on the stove into bowls and pushed them into our hands.
Within seconds they were joking and laughing with us, and we were giving the main horseman language lessons. Or at least the one phrase – it had obvious marketing benefits.
But then C had something else for them.
In their language, she asked them if they’d ever heard of the Most High God.
They laughed. Just like they’d laughed at the horseman’s English attempts.
They were sharing their tent with an idol. And around their tents, strings of Buddhist prayer flags were flapping in the rainy breeze.
She told them about Him anyway.
And the whole tent heard … some really listening. Afterward, all four of us sang them a song in English, and they scrambled for the smartphones (yes, smartphones). Then C and another friend B (who also speaks the language) sang a song about Him for them in their language, and they recorded it.
My God, I worship you.
My heart loves you deeply.
At your throne, I think of your grace
My heart praises & worships,
My God I want to worship you.
Who knows what happens to things when they end up in the belly of a smartphone. But maybe, just maybe, they’ll listen to the song the crazy white girls sang again sometime.