Today we had plans to visit a temple that is set high on a hill that overlooks our entire city. But some opportunities from earlier in the week changed our plans. The boys we had learned cricket from had invited us back at 11 am to play with them. We took an American football with us. Boy was that a hit! It wasn’t long before we had a crowd of boys, though most stayed on the railing that surrounded the little dirt patch they play on between classes. One young man, who I’ll call Manny, grew particularly attached to us. After a while, Jake and I walked down he street with Manny to a small bowling alley. We played a game and asked if Manny had Facebook. He did so we wrote our info on a track that is written in his language. Unfortunately, because of the loudness and chaos of all the boys, there wasn’t really an opportunity to talk with him.
After bowling, we went back to the field. Now a huge crowd of boys had gathered. As Jake was throwing the ball, the crowd was big enough to attract the attention of the police who told the boys to scatter. Some did; most didn’t. After the police left, there was suddenly some shouting. I looked over and saw Manny yelling angrily and trying to get over the fence at a guy, who was being held back by the others. It turns out, the boy had insulted the way Jake was throwing (ha!) and Manny was ready to climb over the fence and fight him to defend Jake! Pretty funny. Well, we decided we had better go and return after lunch. And we would have except it started raining. Hopefully, I’ll have time to go later this morning to say good-bye.
After some rest, we headed back to the university, this time with our friend here. Jake, of course, got in on some basketball. As I watched from the side, some boys came up and asked if we could show them some tricks. Our friend started showing them how to dribble between their legs and some basic basketball drills. They all loved it. I fell into conversation again with one of the team members, who I’ll call Abe. He wasn’t playing because he is the guy who just got his cast off. As we talked, I asked him who was the best player on their team. He said that they did not believe in boasting, but was having a hard time relaying that in English. So I prompted him, asking if he meant they were humble people. He said yes, he believed in humility because that is what is taught in the Bible! WOW! I said, yes, as a Jesus-follower, I believed that too. And he replied that he is a Christian!
I was immediately excited and began asking more questions and talking about our experiences. I tried to gauge his foundation in the bible a little. I asked if he shared his faith with his teammates. He said yes, that it was his responsibility to do so. After I told him how apathetic most seemed, or that they just believed Jesus is another god, he said that that was true, many believe those things, but the Bible teaches Jesus as the Son of the One God! I called our friend over and connected them. Abe invited him to their church, telling us they have prayer meetings every morning for the city and Bible study on Thursday nights.
As I reflect on it, and we got home, I began to see that God had answered our prayer. We had found our person of peace. I had some doubt in my mind, I’m ashamed to say, but when we got back together in the evening, all of us were saying it. And really, why should I doubt that God answered our prayer? It is so exciting! With all prayer and expectation, I hope our friend and Abe build a great relationship and that Abe’s faith is sound in biblical doctrine.
To round out this last post, I would ask your continued prayers for Larry, who fell ill again yesterday and was unable to join us. But we prayed that as he was at the hotel, he was able to connect with our awesome staff there. Also, although Sunday was physically restful, it was very tough emotionally. The puppy our friends got turned worse and did not make it. I believe God gives us gifts to enjoy His creation and delight in His goodness. Among the many blessings that encompasses, is the companionship of pets. They very much become our family. So pray our friends can focus on God’s goodness and look forward to a healthy, properly weaned puppy in a couple weeks.
We’ve checked out of our hotel. This morning we’re going out one more time while our friends learn language. Then we’re resting and heading to the airport at 11 pm, to arrive at 3:30 am and depart at 6:30 am. We leave on a Wednesday and arrive at home on a Wednesday, so it is literally going to be the longest Wednesday of our lives. See y’all back in the states!