The past week has been very busy and very interesting. This time last week I was getting ready to attend a fellowship supper with Randy for CPers with various agencies, when the doorbell rang. Since I was busy, I asked Sean to find out who it was. He returned and said it was someone speaking Russian. I have a Russian vocabulary of approximately 5-10 words so I figured it was someone at the wrong gate. They were persistent in ringing the doorbell, so I left what I was doing and went to the gate. It turned out to be the national census. So, I spent the next thirty minutes answering questions about our nationality, how many languages we speak, education (including what our degrees are in), how long we plan to live here, where we work, what grades our children are in, where they were born, where else we've lived, and a few other random questions. It felt more like an inquisition than a census!
The fellowship we were attending was a special event. Several agencies worked together to bring in a special speaker, Joanne Shetler. She is the author of And the Word Came with Power. It tells the story of her work among a headhunter tribe in the northern Philippines. Julie has been especially excited ever since she found out that Miss Shetler would be coming, since the book was one of her readers during the last school year.
Sunday night was Andy and Emerald's first wedding. This one was what they call the girl's wedding and is put on by the bride's family. Emerald's parents were very gracious and attentive, and were excessively worried because we didn't stay very late. A couple of days later Zumrud found me on Facebook and said that her mother was afraid we left unhappy. I assured her it had nothing to do with them and everything to do with babysitters needing to go home.
Beggars are fairly common here. Some sit on the sidewalk and beg from passersby, while others go from house to house, knocking on doors. This week a woman came to the door asking for work. She had a little note explaining that she was mute. She made hand motions to show that she has two children and that she had been all over the neighborhood knocking on doors. I wasn't able to give her a job, but I did have some food for her to take home. She hugged me and kissed me, and I was able to talk to her for a minute or two about Jesus. Certainly not a full gospel presentation, but it was hard to tell how much she really understood of what I was saying to her. I asked her to write her name down so I can pray for her. She wrote "Zuleykha". Because names here always have some meaning, I looked it up in the dictionary. I couldn't find her name, but it is very closely related to the root word for "darkness" or "oppression". Without a doubt, that is an obvious prayer request. Please pray for her with me.