Saturday, May 5, 2007

Pray for Conviction

Yesterday we enjoyed another student party. Since we have a volunteer team in from the US, the party was followed by a walking tour in the city. This is a great opportunity for the students to show off important sites, tell our guests about their history, and practice their English. For us, it is a great opportunity to build relationships. I was able to meet several new students on our three-hour walk. One, however, caught my interest. First of all, she walked with me the entire time, which means we spent quite a lot of time talking with each other. The other reason is her name. It literally means, "conviction". My silent prayer began immediately: "Lord, please bring conviction to Conviction." Please join me in that prayer, and ask that there will be other opportunities to spend time with her.

We forgot to pick up our camera, but my friend Donna has promised to send me a picture she took of me and Conviction. Hopefully I can get that posted soon so you can see who you're praying for.

There were a couple of unpleasant incidents also. One was unrelated to the party. Randy was approached by a drunk beggar man. Although we often give to beggars, we don't typically give to drunk men. As he persisted, another man came up to "help" us out by grabbing the man and hitting him across the head repeatedly. Our children saw the whole thing but, although it was upsetting, don't seem to be dwelling on it.

The other incident happened at the party. The students were to have prepared skits related to local wedding customs--arranging marriages and the actual wedding. Three of the girls took it upon themselves to perform a rap song about jihad to commemorate the victims of a massacre that took place here during their most recent war. The student program director took them aside privately and explained that they needed to find a more appropriate way to honor the memory of their slain countrymen. Sadly, the girls got angry and left.

Otherwise, it was a good party. We have been to several weddings, and we know some of the customs related to arranging a marriage, but I did learn more. When the young man's parents went to ask the young woman's parents about arranging a marriage, the student playing the part of the groom's father said, "You have the gold, we have the goldsmith. You have the garden, we have the gardener. Our families are deserving of each other." Very different from our traditions!

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