Happy Independence Day. I am so glad to have that little blue and gold passport!
Less than two weeks out, I can already smell the BBQ and taste the blackberry cobbler! In this past week we have had some awesome working experiences! My team and I have been asking for intercession on the part of our people here for the recent several months. We have also been interceding daily on the behalf of our friends. This week we have had some conversations that are potentially breakthroughs for some friends. HE has been answering our pleas, and the interactions that we have had the opportunity to be a part of have been amazing.
A few people started conversations that were Q&A times about our beliefs. These were conversations that were in the length of an hour or more each of deep discussion over what makes us different, and why our differences look so ‘different’. I had the chance to explain in depth some of my personal views and went from the beginning to the maps with a few guys. These are amazing experiences that rarely happen during the average day, but some sort of breakthrough has enticed some disinterested men into becoming interested in a topic that they are not supposed to ever question or talk about.
Concerning the work here and elsewhere with this culture and others like it I have a myriad of thoughts that I am mulling over. To be honest I do not feel like my work is done, rather I feel as if the ability to really work has just begun. I know that I am coming home and I am excited to reconnect with family and friends, and I feel like it will be a great time to recharge and share with people firsthand what HE has been doing here. In the last six months I have had the opportunity to learn about and experience a culture that is unknown and distrusted to most who hear of it. This culture or these cultures have their own nuances that outshine some of those from our own cultures, for the good and the bad as well as the beautiful and ugly.
For something that I have experienced as good. The community is of utmost importance for this culture, and the religion ties directly to the family, community, and people as a whole. If we were to value the community as highly as some of our cousins do how would we ever lose our youth to false ideals and beliefs? This is an aspect that I think we had until recent generations, but have lost or forgotten as time progresses. The aspect of community that I am describing is as close to the same in structure today as it was in the times of Paul and the twelve.
Something that I find dislike in for this culture and others like it is the inability to ask questions concerning personal beliefs. What I mean by this is that if I am a student of certain schools of thought that directly oppose those of the western world, then I am not allowed to question in any way the information that I am learning. Something that I really value from our culture that may or may not be all for our benefit is our freedom to question all things. I feel as if in our culture the quest for and the questioning of knowledge is more important than the knowledge that we inadvertently learn in the process of the quest. In places away from our comfortable homes people are not permitted to ask the simple question of why. Because of this there are multitudes of people who don’t necessarily understand but continue to follow and practice in order to retain their place in the community, family, society, etc.
Thank you for your continued pr@yers and thoughts. As our time here winds to an end I am trying to focus on the interactions and conversations as much as I can. I simply ask that you continue in your intercession on behalf of the people who are here and around the world who have yet to hear the good news.
In this time of celebrating our freedom, I hope that you remember that we truly have a rare gift in that we are free to question the aspects and ideals of life that we have yet to understand. We have the freedom to make decisions on our own instead of making them out of an honor-shame understanding on life. We still have a country to call home and a government in that country. Regardless of how we perceive our current government and the branches of that government, it is currently still there to protect its people and allow us to provide for ourselves. I know my understanding of the world is limited, but now that I have been to another part of it I can appreciate the work and the sacrifices that have been invested to make our country a bastion off hope for those who are looking for their own promised land.