Most of you have probably already put VBS behind you for another year. Thanks to FBC, Milton, Florida, Hannah Grace enjoyed a week of VBS as well as a fun Skype visit with all the children there.
Here in this country, many children are attending VKS--Vacation Koran School. It isn't as elaborate as what we put on in the US. It looks a little more like the Backyard Bible Clubs we used to have. But what they sacrifice in decorations they make up for with time. The school in our apartment building meets Monday through Friday, 10 am to 1 pm, all summer.
At least, that was the plan until somebody complained and it was shut down by the building management.
Now, our favorite neighbors have written a petition and are conducting a signature drive to have it reinstated. They asked us if we would sign it. My immediate response was that I needed to talk with my husband first. Not because I didn't know what our answer would be, but because I wanted to stall. I hoped they would forget about it. I wanted to think of how to respond graciously. . .if that would even be possible. Anything to avoid the inevitable offense of saying no.
For almost a week, it looked like I was off the hook. I hadn't seen my neighbor around and she hadn't come knocking again to ask about the petition. Yesterday evening, though, I went to sit out on the benches with the other moms, and there she was with a stack of petitions. Now, not only would I have to say no, I would have to do so in front of a whole group of covered women. They discussed the situation and how to get more signatures. (Many people are out of town for vacation, so they aren't able to collect as many signatures as they expected.) Still, nothing was mentioned about my failure to sign. Finally, as "Z" and I were walking back to our building she quietly asked if Randy and I had discussed signing. I asked her if she would be offended if we didn't. She replied that she wouldn't, but just because we signed didn't mean our girls had to go to the classes. I told her that I understood that, but as Christians we couldn't sign the petition. My hope was that from there I could talk about our faith, but she cut me off. Not because she was angry, but (besides the fact that I'm pretty slow in the language) because she wanted to reassure me that there was no offense taken.
Almost at that moment one of the older ladies walked up and asked about the petitions. This is one of those women that tend to be a little pushy. She told me rather loudly that I needed to sign. "Z" nicely told her that whether I signed wasn't her business. When the woman persisted, my friend very sweetly told her good evening and led me on into the building. Not only did she not take offense, she shielded me from the more easily offended neighbors!
This turned out so differently than I expected. I expected that my good friend would be hurt and offended. I expected to at least get to share the Gospel. Neither of those scenarios came about.
I don't believe that God allowed our path to cross with these neighbors for no reason. They are "on fire" committed to their faith. They are disciplined in their practice of it. Wherever we happen to be, when it's time to pray they find a place and pray. Yet they remain very open to us. Not to our belief in Jesus Christ, but to us. Please pray that they will realize that we would not be the people they like and are drawn to apart from Christ. Pray specifically that they would start to ask the sorts of questions that would lead to a serious discussion about the Truth.