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..."

Thursday, August 18, 2005

ordained roles in the kingdom

august 18: thursday: day 9 (part 2)
well by this point, i had taken note of a number of cultural differences:
  • eating with the right hand (bunching)
  • driving on the left side
  • not saying 'excuse me' etc... just acting in courtesy
  • openly clearing sinuses (hocking) even during prayer
  • taking shoes off in church
  • head bobbling rather than nodding in agreement
  • introductions by last name, as first names are way difficult for anglos
  • almost everyone younger is older than they look
  • almost everyone older is younger than they look

thinking about the whole dances with wolves thing further, i am amazed at how, with basic familiarity (but probably more importantly within the context of relationship) conversation with many (e.g. lazarus, mohamed etc) becomes easier and more natural. the sri lankans let you into conversation with them when they are ready... they have to be feel you first.

although i don't have a copy of it yet, al did me a huge favour by filming the songs we did together at the ordination service. playing and leading worship singing as part of this event was a blessing. lazarus told me afterward that he had prayed that parasute avi ya navare would flow freely, and that his prayer was answered.

this was a relief because i thought that i had lost his guitar pick (turned out he had put it in his pocket and then changed his shirt... because of the heat and humidity the sri lankans change their shirts a lot) and was worried that my part in the day would be somewhat intrusive.

what was affirming about the whole deal was that, although i had not gone there to be big mr worship leader guy from the west, God still used the gifts that he has entrusted to me in this area. the worship leader gifting was not simply something that he had intended to see used in my own culture, but in any culture within which i were to find myself.

sometimes because of the way i am wired up, i start thinking that perhaps God is done with this or that expression of my faithfulness to him... particularly as he calls me into new roles for his glory. it is at times like that that i am reminded how all things are to be for his glory and how i need not think so much...

robert, attended left to right by francis (white shirt) daniel, mahomed, lazarus (back) and jey (checking his notes)

whatever the case, the ordination service was touching- especially as the two pastors being ordained, david and robert, are both from tsunami-affected areas, having suffered great loss in their personal and community lives, yet remaining true to the calling of God in spite of residual bitterness, anger, confusion and questions.

david and his wife, al's goatee, jay's white shirt this time, kumarisiri's white pants

the faith of these men has touched my own with its depth.

back row: lazarus, kumarisiri, daniel, mohamed, jey
front row: francis, robert, (mrs robert- sorry!), (mrs david- sorry again!), david, jay, (mrs jay-okay enough!) al, ben


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