My Daughter, the World Traveler
In May of this year my nineteen year-old daughter traveled to Bhutan, a beautiful closed country which borders China and India. Why Bhutan? In the past six years she has visited Mexico several times, The Canary Islands, El Salvador, and Los Angeles with a missions group from our church. This year, as a freshman in college, she found an opportunity to travel with some of the Univeristy basketball team to teach basketball to the youth of Bhutan.
You have to understand what this opportunity meant to my adventurous, youngest child. This is the child who collects all things Asian-the shelves in her room are filled with everything from wooden chopsticks, colorful candles with Asian designs, and an antique watercolor on silk we found at a yard sale. She has always said she would someday adopt an Asian child, or marry someone and create her own. She even learned to like Asian food because of her fascination with this culture-quite a feat for a person who is so picky she doesn’t even like cheese or oatmeal. To say that traveling to a country in the East was a dream come true would be an understatement. The fact that she would be working with children and playing basketball on this three-week trek created a dream world for her that she may never again experience.
There is much I could say about her experiences in Bhutan, but tonight as I watch the Olympic Games I am reminded of one significant event. While watching The March of the Nations, Ally spotted one of her friends from Bhutan, Sherab Zam, who is representing her country in archery. How amazing that my daughter, who grew up in this small Central Texas town, not only played basketball with royalty while in that country, but also met this remarkable young woman and her coach. Even more amazing is the fact that Sherab took time to thank her for the shout-out on Facebook and several of the princesses Ally has befriended responded as well.
Did I mention that Bhutan is a closed country, and that sharing the Christian faith is punishable by time in prison, or worse? Ally has always loved missions, but this time she was challenged to be a silent witness. She has made many friends of different faiths, and in every situation has shown them unconditional love and respect, as we all should. As Frances of Assisi once said “Preach the gospel always, and if necessary use words.” I guess Ally has come away with more than souveniers for her collection and an experience of a lifetime; she has learned that the love of God shining through us is more powerful than our insignificant words could ever be.