Woven Together29 Sep 2016, Posted by Blog in
The tall, lanky cotton plants sway in the warm breeze, which feels amazingly refreshing when it hits my wet skin after bathing in the Yuruá River. At the top of the hill overlooking the river, there are about 15 small huts with palm roofs lining both sides of a short, grass runway.
This is Nueva Luz (New Light), a tiny Ashéninka tribal village in the jungle of Peru, where the nearby border with Brazil is blurred by dense rainforest and winding rivers leading to the Amazon.
Outside one of the huts, a woman sits on the ground with long strands of black and white thread tied around her waist. The 50-foot-long strands are pulled taught and secured to her hut. She works methodically with the fiery sun beaming down on her, weaving.
Weaving is a big part of Ashéninka culture and an essential skill for women in the tribe. A woman is considered to be a good wife once she has woven a traditional robe for her husband.
In order to do this, she first plants, grows and harvests the cotton. Then she cleans it and spins it into thread before dying it with clay, and finally weaves it together to make the robe.
As I watched and documented this process, my mind was drawing metaphorical connections to the tribal missionaries we were serving.
Brad and Rebecca Howe (and their son, Koleman) have been learning the tribal language and culture, preparing themselves just like this cotton, and are now embedded among the tribe, weaving their lives together with the Ashéninka people to reach them for Christ. Rebecca has even grown her own cotton and plans to weave Brad a traditional robe.
As Rebecca showed us her cotton plants and explained the weaving tradition, she told us about different types of wild cotton, and I began to think about my own life.
I was once like wild cotton, but I was plucked by the Lord, who cleaned and stretched me, and spun me into a longer, stronger thread than I ever imagined I could be.
Then He wove me together with other threads in His ever-growing tapestry to reflect His glory.
It reminded me of Romans 11:17, “…and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree…”
Cotton or olive branches, we are all a part of this beautiful masterpiece God is creating.
Weaving through life,