poitu varam

THE CHRONICLES OF A FLEDGLING MISSIONARY CALLED JOLLYBEGGAR "i still gaze fondly at all of the pictures, drink ginger beer, bunch my food, listen to punjabi dj tunes, play my dholki, wear my sarong (around the house only because in canada it is still really uncommon for a man to wear a wraparound skirt in public) and speak way too much of the differences between east and west..."

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A is for asinine

august 16: tuesday: day 7 (part 1)

i couldn't run this day (in fact, i wouldn't run again until the trip was over) but i did walk from the hotel to the conference centre- about a kilometer. wet, tropical and jungle-like, the walk was lush and breath-taking. the air was thick and heavy with morning glory.

colleen made friends with a water buffalo that 'mooed' incessantly once she left it. awww.

i spoke with robert and david during teatime about the tsunami. both pastor in tsunami-affected areas and were to be ordained as free methodist church in sri lanka pastors on thursday. david's village had lost over two hundred people- he had personally lost family. robert had prayed to God 'i hate.'

somehow, none of my correct responses met with any ascent in their eyes.
Q: the people of my village ask 'why did God send the tsunami? what do i say to them?'
A: God didn't send the tsunami- but he's working through it...

see? doesn't quite cut it. i tried another approach...
A: if nothing else, God has called my church in canada into a greater awareness of who he is and how important it is for us to love and act upon this love outside of our little city or country...

not much better.

in Q and A times, let us not let our 'A' stand for 'asinine.'
just shut up and listen.

outside, beside the highway, two dogs lay curled up, sleeping peacefully in the morning sun on a pile of ash and garbage.

in preparation for my talk on discipleship, ben and i workied for over an hour and a half on wordings... it was like paraphrasing scripture into worship song lyrics- sometimes an idea or concept wouldn't transfer and would require a redirect, but overall it was an amazing experience. i felt good about the time we spent, as quotes by people like dallas willard and gary zukav cannot really be translated well live and have the essence of the idea remain intact.

i had dropped my first immodium of the whole trip prior to speaking... just didn't need that kind of action while delivering the only actual message that i was commissioned to deliver on this trip.

the actual talk was, in my mind, successful. the pastors were graciously engaged and responsive. God did some great stuff, both in the last minute preparation with ben and live.

another note about ben: he was an integral part of every session in some way. he did so much more than simply interpretation- it was hardcore facilitation.

when there was need to clarify and discuss a point made by either me or al in our sessions, ben would just do it rather than simply relay back and forth. because ben was so in harmony with everything we all were about, having him interpret was like having a really good driver in colombo at rush hour.

none of us were pastors before we started becoming pastors.
(best idea in the whole discipleship lesson, expressing the need to build up those that serve 'under' us as assistants etc.)

afterwards, the resident crazy man had a couple of points to contend, having completely missed mine.

following the teaching time, mohamed and i went for a drive in his taxi- but i got to drive! al shot some bouncy footage of it from the backseat which was priceless, but the trick would be to get a copy. apparently nobody from any of our teams has ever done that- driven an auto, that is, not wrenched film footage from al's grasp- cool. mohamed and i seemed to be able to easily connect.

by the end of the day, all of the canadians were sitting around exhausted after a full one. at times like that i was prone to guilt because i was not actually 'doing' as much as some of the others. in those times, however, God would bring back the experiences of the day and the connections that i had made and remind me that this was my intended mandate- to build relationships and make plain the way so others could more easily travel there to be used of God in the ways that he intended for them.

that i was having so much fun was probably just indicative of the smile of God.


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