Have you ever sung in a room full of underwear? Yes, underwear. Sounds pretty exciting huh? Undergarment pieces framed on the wall… piles of panties everywhere… I sang with my family in front of two hundred people in a room full of underpants today. You might think I’m joking but you can’t make up stuff this good… seriously.
The mere idea of singing in piles of skivvies seems strange and maybe a bit risqué to the normal person but the experience wasn’t as weird as I expected it to be (am I a “normal person” or does having the experience disqualify me, do you think?). In brief explanation… Saigon, Vietnam is full of shops and factories that produce everything you can imagine. We felt honored and thrilled to visit one of them and share our hearts with 200 workers gathered in the second story sewing room (despite the mountains of briefs and panties everywhere). God doesn’t care where you are. He’ll work with whatever you give him.
We recently transcribed our new song “I Can Do All Things” (taken from Philippians 4:13) into Vietnamese. It was daunting for our very normal American family to sing in a language of 6 tones and multiple diph’thongs’ but we worked through the lyrics word-by-word with a precious Vietnamese friend in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last week. Today was our pilot run. There were times we shook our heads in awe as we sang “I can do all things…” in broken Vietnamese in an underwear factory. The experience became even more surreal when we opened a gift that the factory leadership had prepared in advance of our visit. It was a plaque embossed with opalescent lettering and embellishments that read: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13” They had no knowledge of our having worked on this song (it’s within-the-year new. We just wrote it!). It confirmed for our family that this was our verse for the year, especially regarding our relationship with the Vietnamese people.
We seem to have many outrageous experiences on this side of the world. Most of them happen because of the people we come to know and love here. God does it. It’s impossible for us to take credit. Hope is born out of these friendships built in the strangest circumstances… even in a room full of underpants.
..or a Pizza Hut. Our family was so excited to find a familiar chain this past week (REAL American food is less common here than underwear factories) and our waiter spoke such beautiful English. He later sent us this precious email:
hello jackson family,
i’m writing for you to confirm about your email.
i want you to know: you are the happiest family that i’ve never saw.
i hope to have a family like you.
thanks for your coming and i was pleasure to served you! hope to see you agian!!!! ^_^ (sorry if i have a lot of mistake about grammar)
Isn’t that amazing?! We will see him again this week, I hope. The more friends we make, the more we love a city. But we have some questions right now about how much we’re willing to do to prove that love. Yes, we sang in a panty production plant (that takes a lot of love, for sure) but we weren’t originally planning to spend the holidays in Saigon this year. We just found out that some of the meetings we were going to be involved in this month have been moved to a later date. Our flights were scheduled so that we could be home for Christmas but now we’re not sure if we should go home or stay. We’re torn…
So, if this post prompted you to pick up any underwear you or a family member have piled (or maybe you now want to sing in it or were simply reminded to change it), I hope that you will also pray for us with equal fervor and frequency.