Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Going to bed early last night seems to have helped; I wake up feeling pretty good. The laptop, however, has a dead battery, and since I have my morning devotions in Logos, I’m out of luck (if I can put it that way). Did I mention that I left my hard-copy Bible on the floor of our van when my wife dropped me off back in May? So I’ve been borrowing a Bible to preach from, or using my iPod as necessary. Upshot is, dead battery, devotions are postponed pending either a recharge or an outlet.

I get to the house just before 8, because it’s a laundry day (TThSa), and the lady picks up the clothes at 8. When I walk into the house, whom should I see but the one who was sick yesterday, looking his/her chipper self. How you feeling? Great! Well, that’s good.

Joslyn announces that she thinks Simba is dying. He’s lying beside a path outside, only minimally responsive, with a wide swath of fur missing from his hindquarters. My first thought is that the boys have done this, and I’m tempted to do something similar to them. But one should really investigate before doling out justice, or it’s not justice at all. Since where he’s lying is right along the path from the house to my 9 am class, I stop by and check him out. He’s a mess, all right. I think he might be dead, but when I pet his head, his eyes flicker briefly. So I stroke him a bit and try to be encouraging. Along come my boys, and I ask them what happened. They don’t know; maybe he’s sick. No, I say, he’s been hurt; I motion to show where he’s injured, and they laugh. Now I’m really itching for justice, especially since I know that one of my boys is in fact a bully to the younger kids. Then it occurs to me that they may be laughing because I pointed to my own hindquarters; still more research to do.

I see Beth as class is getting started, and I mention Simba. She says that has happened before; she doesn’t know why. Hmmm. Could have been in a (dog)fight, I suppose. Well, I have a class to conduct.

As the boys and I are walking up to the house for chai after class, I stop again to check on Simba. He seems more responsive, even half sits up. I gather the boys around by placing my arms around them, and we have a little talk.

“Boys, if I knew that one of you did this to the dog, I would be very tempted to do the same thing to you—to hurt you badly. But I won’t do that, because Jesus tells us to be kind and not to seek revenge. But you should know that God is just, and if you have done this, you will not get away with it. And if you are a bully, someday you will regret it.”

How much of that do they understand? Were they even involved? Who knows? You do what you can.

Matt’s going in to town today, and he asks if I’d like to come along. Sure; let’s square this backlog on the safari and settle the books. I think the ATM will let me get enough cash today to do that.

Over the river and through the woods—well, actually, neither of those, but it’s a pretty cool ride over dirt roads and through herds of cattle and alongside motorcycles. We park near Matt’s destination, which is where I want to be as well. ATM first. Transaction refused. Well, that’s weird. Try the bank across the street. Same thing. Try the bank across the next street. Works fine. I pull enough 6 dollar bills to settle the books for Tanzania, and life is good.

Over to the coffee shop, there are two booths open. So I grab one, order a black currant Fanta, and sit down to catch up on the blog and old email. As that’s about done, Matt arrives and gets a little web work done himself. Then it’s time for a late lunch. He takes me down the street to a joint up a flight of stairs, where we get a table on the balcony overlooking the street. How very French-Quarterish. Since it’s late, they’re out of most of the stuff on the menu, but they have a nice poached fish and rice, which is very tasty, if you don’t mind sorting out the really big bones. We eat our fill, enjoying the view; the meal for 2 is 5 bucks, no tip expected.

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Back to the compound, read with one of my students, dinner with Beth and the Gasses (Mac and cheese! Cheese! Two days in row!).

For team devotions we decide to just sing, and we go for 45 minutes. Some nights we really feel like singing; some we don’t. This is one we do.

Done with the day’s responsibilities by 9, so we hang around for a bit. Jon points out that Imodium smells really good; if you smell an orange peel at the same time, it smells like a Creamsicle. Then Jon remembers that we need to make the pudding for tomorrow night’s skit. The recipe calls for fat-free milk; we don’t have any, so we use what we have. The pudding is a brick. But if you keep adding milk and water and mashing the dickens out of it, eventually it loosens up to just a lumpy mush. And it’s butterscotch, so how bad can it be? We all have some. And Keri makes popcorn. Instant party.

And we talk. Lots. My habit on these occasions is to contribute occasionally but mostly to just sit back and listen. These kids are young, and there’s a price to pay for that, but they’re full of energy, enthusiasm, and optimism, and they have good insights and wisdom considering that they’re not as old as I am. 🙂 If the Lord tarries, the future will be OK.

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Dan Olinger

Chair, Division of Bible in the BJU School of Religion.

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