Friday, September 24, 2010

Life, Language, Laughter, Love

If you had been outside my house window last night, you may have been incredibly confused. You would have heard something like this: "Michael, ing! Horse. Neigh!" "Horse, Sa-Col." "So-Cal? Sa-Col. Sa-Col, Horse. Neigh!" "Neigh!" "Ah, Horse, Horse." "Nu Nu, ing! Sa-Col!" "Yes, Horse." "Neigh!" And then peels of laughter. Somewhat reminiscent of a preschool class. This is our new bilingual fellowship time, born last night around our kitchen table, laid with biscotti and coffee and bowls of milk. While the boys, Michael and Jolien, soaked up the milk in their cookies and had the time of their lives making a royal mess, Lian and Thang Ngaih bounced the babies and I used a children's picture book to help us all learn. I learned quickly how to tell Michael "No, get down! Sit! Stop!" in Zo, and the women learned how to say it all in English. For the first time in my life, learning a new language doesn't feel stressful. It is a joy and delight with my new friends.

Lian came in this morning to my room with a cup of her special coffee for me, which has a big spoonful of condensed milk mixed in to it. We talked a little bit, and if I followed the conversation right, I think we are going to watch a movie in a bit together and she's going to show me how she makes chicken. Should be a fun day! I love sharing life - all the language, laughter, and love - with my families.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Our Refuge

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." ~Psalm 46:1

Did you realize that Rahab was a refugee? Did you know that Joseph was a victim of human trafficking? Did you consider that Esther was an orphan? Did you notice that Ruth was a poor immigrant, dependent on her host country for her needs?

God loved each of them by name. It was by his grace that they were saved - that they were brought out of dangerous places, set free and lifted up, given a seat of honor and a crown of glory, provided for and cared about personally. The Bible is a beautiful thing for those who are oppressed, because it is full of stories just like theirs that all end in hope. Isn't this our story too? Weren't we all strangers to God, bound by our sin, alone and unloved, desperately in need? God's heart is for people who are oppressed... people like us. He delights to adopt us and rescue us, to be our Father, if we just trust him.

Yesterday, this is what we talked about in Women's Club. The women took turns reading the above verse in their first language - Chinese, Burmese, French, and Spanish were represented - and after each woman read, we all agreed with an "Amen!" and "Hallelujah!" Then we all read it in English together. It was so beautiful to hear the women receive and claim this promise from Scripture.

Pray for those who are still oppressed, who still do not know or understand the gift of God through Christ Jesus. Pray for those here in Fort Wayne as well as those in your own life... pray that they will know the truth and the truth will set them free!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The guts to try

Today Pam and I had lunch at an Indian buffet, where we sampled simply everything on the line. We stuffed our faces with curry and potatoes and boasted of our culinary open-mindedness... how we will try anything once. And at that moment, God laughed at us.

When we got home this evening, our house families were having a big dinner and invited us to join in... no, actually that isn't true. Hau Lun put it in front of us and told us to eat. And what was our Chin delicacy of the night? Rice, soup, and beef!... and stomach. Yes. The "frilly" bits were stomach. Mmmm... so about that "try anything once" thing... But Pam was so brave, and took a bite. I had a hard time even picking it up (rice and beef to be eaten with bare hands), but eventually managed to eat some too. It tasted a little more pungent than the other pieces, but the texture was really the worst part, since it was spongey and chewy and... frilly. Ok, enough of that talk...

We decided to offer some American food to our friends, and what could be more American than frozen pizza? So we cut it up small and I took it out on a plate to serve like appetizers. Hau Lun tried to resist and say he was too full, but I insisted. After all, I had eaten the stomach he served me, the least he could do was try tomato paste on bread. So he did, and most of the others tried it too. Little Michael LOVED the pizza and had a lot of fun making a tomatoey mess on... everything. I was proud of him for being so brave as to try food from another culture... future missionary, perhaps??

Those cross-cultural classes last week have already begun to pay off - thanks, Jim and Lina!