“I want you to explain the Word to me”
After slogging through about 3 or 4 minutes of charades and word guessing as we worked through the language barrier, a shock ran through my system as I realized what my friend was saying. And I felt so chastised.
But first, let me back up a bit.
We get one day off each week, and we keep it fairly sacred. The fact that I was doing any work at all that afternoon was a point of frustration within me, knowing the importance of resting together as a family from the stress of life here. As I was close to wrapping up, my phone rang, and I heard my friend, ‘D’ on the other end:
“Jeremy! Do you know where I am? I am at your house! We brought an octopus to cook!”
You see, in the local culture a way to show friendship with someone is to just drop in at their house and spend time with them. And so, I quickly wrapped up what I was doing and headed home, frustrated that they picked this day of all days to come by, knowing that we had plans and that they would not be staying only for a short time.
And then when I got home, the smell hit me. We did the best we could to be gracious, but I could tell that it was a strain not only for me, but for Melissa also. The octopus had boiled over, leaving a huge mess and smell throughout the whole house. Moreover, D had brought a new girl with him who he was acting very flirtatious towards, which rubbed both Melissa and I wrong. The fact that polygamy is culturally accepted and encouraged causes us great pain.
While the food was cooking, we retired to the living room and began playing cards and having what conversation we could. One of our friends commented on Melissa’s Word which was sitting out, and that discussion then sparked interest in my close friend, ‘A’, and so he asked me to meet with him another time to explain the Word to him.
Apparently, his uncle (a local of another island near here) had been telling him for a long time that there is more to the Word of God than people have been lead to believe, and that he should check it out for himself. And so, he picked this day – completely out of the blue – to drop this bomb on my ungrateful lap.
So, as things turned out, the octopus they make here actually tastes pretty okay. Seraphina loved it, and probably ate about 30 pieces despite her difficulty chewing it. We ended up having a wonderful time playing cards, and ‘A’ and I will be meeting again with a friend who can help with language problems to explain the Word of God.
God is doing amazing things here, and we are so grateful that he has included us in the work, even if it takes a bit of a wake up call for us to realize it.
Things to pray for:
- Wisdom and discernment as we learn how to study the Word with others in this hostile environment. I was told yesterday that locals caught reading the Word have been sent to prison.
- Boldness and passion for the local believers!
- Health for our team. Over half of the team is down sick right now with a virus.