Saturday, July 28, 2007

A late night visit

A team member who lives in Jordon shared this story about a visit to a farm.

Two years ago we met J H at a service shop when we had an electrical problem. Yesterday, J H called (yes, he had saved our telephone numbers for a long time) and wanted to visit with us, extending an invitation for us to travel to his village in the late afternoon. The village, a distance from where we live, offered a much-welcomed cool breeze. We toured the village and the large “tribal” farm (most of the cousins, etc., are retired military persons, live there and together work this farm with almost every kind of fruit and vegetable, rabbits, chickens, sheep, etc.) and later a large group (women, children, youth, men) gathered and sat among the many trees enjoying coffee, fruit of the land, and great fellowship. Ultimately, PTL, the conversation turned to God, Jesus, and stories from the Bible and most of the group had either details, comments, and/or questions. Words are not adequate to say what we were both experiencing as we felt HIS presence in that time. We were able to share more in depth than in many days and we spoke boldly, freely and with voices of praise, thanks, and adoration for all the love that Jesus has given through our acceptance of HIS great gift of eternal life. During that nearly “hour of power”, we sensed only HIS power filling us with responses, thoughts, words – concluding with talk of the “miraculous” power of God -- and we KNEW we had touched a chord within the hearers. We spoke of how our finite minds can NEVER understand the infinite, miraculous power and love of Almighty God nor of HIS mighty acts and miracles. We relished hearing these Muslim persons sharing what they know about Jesus. This visit ended near midnight – and this was BEFORE our night meal, but the fruit held us until we returned home. What a wondrous journey with HIM totally in control. How blessed we are that we can share HIS love and message with some of the seekers in this world! Sitting on a hillside, far from the city, with strangers, nothing but the quiet, beautiful night sky full of stars GOD held us all in HIS arms and loved us last night – some as HIS children; others as those whom HE loves as HIS own, too – so much that HE gave HIS SON for us all.

Letters and Germans

One of our team members who taches English posted the following story:

Recently a student asked me, “Why do you always talk about the Germans?” I had no idea what this student was asking and with the help of other students, pursued a conversation about the possibilities of what could have been said that would be about the Germans. Unable to think of a single thing in the lessons, in class conversation time, etc., that could possibly have been about the Germans, I asked the inquiring student again if he was sure it was the word “Germans” he had heard. The student said that it was. I asked him to repeat as closely as possible what was said that sounded like that. The student replied in very good English, “Letters and Germans”. I laughed out loud because I knew immediately what he was asking about. It is my practice to address the class as “Ladies and Gentlemen” when there are both male and female students attending. Of course, when the mystery of the “Letters and Germans” was explained, the students were roaring with laughter and no one could keep from laughing for the rest of that class (and others that followed). Besides the fun everyone had with the event, there was also a great “teaching moment” on new words. The “Letters and Germans” student was and has been a great sport about this incident and none of the group will ever forget it. PTL for misunderstandings that offer such good fellowship.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pomp and Circumstance!

I recently had a fun Arab experience that I thought I’d share with you. I got to go to the graduation of my friend Melinda. It was a crazy day!

We woke up at 10.30 (I had spent the night at her house the night before) ready to wash Melinda’s shirt, get her skirt fixed at the tailors, buy shoes for her, and get our hair done at the salon before 4.00. Did it happen before 4.00? Ha ha. We didn't even leave the house until about 2.00! That was the beginning of an exciting day. We rushed out of the house (late) in a car borrowed from the neighbors. Her dad is a clever man, but driving is not one of his main skills. We will talk about some of his skills later. Anyway, we got lost and barely made it to the graduation on time. Mel ran off while we parked. Then came the hard part. Getting into the grad. Apparently people actually want to go to graduations here. No one wanted to go to mine except for my grandmother, but even I might have wanted to go to my graduation if there had been drums and dancing and confetti. But not the massive crowds. We couldn’t make it in any of the doors, so we went to the main gate where Mel’s dad proceeded to use all of his influence, yelling at the professors lining up inside the gate to let us in. The guards were insistent that no one was allowed in that gate, and they were really sticking to their guns. But Mel’s dad was not giving up. He’s about 4 feet tall and he was taking on the big dude, insisting that they let him in to see his daughter. Meanwhile, Mel’s mom gave up and pushed her way inside the auditorium (she’s hefty and has sharp elbows). I followed with Mel’s sisters but we couldn’t make it. So we went outside just in time to see Mel’s dad finally get in through the gate! But he didn’t see us so we were stranded outside. Just when I was thinking that this might be a funnier story if we never got in, Mel’s “close guy friend” who was there with us, helped us force our way into the auditorium. We were standing up on the side where we could barely see Mel’s dad up in front sitting right by the stage. Meanwhile noise-makers and drums are going off like nobody’s business and there is a man on stage trying to give a speech. He asks for the music to be turned off and for the drums to stop, but they don’t so he keeps going on anyways. Seriously no one could hear him at all. Finally he gave up and started announcing names. We got out of there relatively fast after that to be greeted outside with even more chaos-dancing, singing, ululating, and candy-throwing. Apparently people throw candy and give out chocolates at graduations, a custom that I am very fond of.

Finally we left, but it still took us about 15 minutes to get out of the parking lot because no one wanted to give way for anyone else. But I learned an important thing that day—never wear high heels to a graduation. I was trying to be cool and fit in with the crowd but after 3 hours of standing, I was in serious pain. I usually follow the policy of never wearing high heels at all, but foot comfort is one of the sacrifices I am making for JC over here. Girls here love their fancy shoes and seriously look down on flipflops (in my opinion one of the greatest inventions in the history of fashionable footwear).