Friday, May 27, 2016

Bethany’s going to get her hair finished today, and there’s some sort of hot water / conditioning thing they need to do for all the girls, so they get going on that around mid-morning. Except for Lora, that is.

Lora? You ask. What’s she up to? Well, remember how the Wa RBC church assigns each visitor a “friend” for the day? Lora’s “friend” was Naomi, and now they’re well, friends. Naomi wanted to go to market with her today, so off they go. At one point Lora notices that every time she says, “Barika,” the folks get very chatty, talking very quickly in Waali. Naomi tells her that when the locals see a white person like her, they say things about her, not always complimentary, and then when they hear her say a Waali word, they assume she knew what they were saying, and they starting apologizing and “explaining” like crazy. I think that’s hilarious. And when they catch a taxi home (it looks a little like those jitneys in the Philippines), the driver does the same thing to her when she thanks him on arrival.

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I don’t know how much of that is a product of Muslim culture—a general disrespect for women—or just human nature. But I suppose being able to give the impression that you knew what they were saying is a pretty satisfying revenge.

While at the market, they run into Jojo and Carloss, who mention that they’re going to have lunch at Mummy’s Kitchen, so the two girls join them. Lora tries the fish. It’s not exactly an American presentation, but it’s good.

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Jojo and Lora arrive home around 1, just as we’re finishing up lunch of spaghetti and meat sauce. Since the group is leaving for VBS at 2 pm today instead of 3.30 (Teme is a couple hours’ drive west), everybody hustles to get everything together before departure.

I have time to do some laundry and upload some more photos to the blog—see 5/13 and 5/23-26—as well as some prep for the last class. While I’m taking care of business online, word comes of the homegoing of a respected sister and colleague, Barb Leatherwood. Prayers for the family.

Up to the chapel for the last class. They’re pretty much on time tonight—we start at 5:40—and we work through the major stylistic and thematic features of John’s Gospels: 7 discourses, 7 “I am”s, including 7 more non-predicated ones (the most well-known of which is 8.58), 7 witnesses that Jesus is the Christ, and finally the biographical structure of the book.

Just before class started Timothy came by and asked me to finish about 7.45 so we could have a little “refreshment,” so I wrap it up right on the dot and take questions for a few minutes (one of them is a request that I explain the Trinity (?!)—until Timothy comes in a few minutes later with a couple of helpers carrying boxes of goodies. He has sodas for everyone, with several kinds available. When he starts with bitter lemon, I jump on the choice; it’s my favorite soda of any kind, anywhere. Most of the sodas are malta, since it’s a local favorite. And then sandwiches. They have a sandwich press and use it a lot; they especially like white bread with chopped vegetables, pressed and toasted.

So we all celebrate completion of this phase of their education.  Pastor David, perhaps the oldest student (about my age), gives me a word of thanks on behalf of the class; Timothy gives a commercial for the college, encouraging those who’ve come in for this block opportunity to consider signing up for a full program. Then he asks me to pray, and they recite the benediction from 2Cor 13.14 together. And of course, we take pictures.

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Lord willing, I’ll see many of these folks again; I plan to return for as long as I can, and they’re pretty good about signing up when I’m here. But no doubt there are some who, through death or circumstance, won’t be able to join us in the future. May God bless their ministries, their walks with Him, their lives, their families. They’re good people.

Jonathan and David have their regular piano lesson after class, while I work online for a while. I need to get the PowerPoints to the students, and the simplest way is to email it to the class secretary (Augustine, one of this year’s graduates). But the zipped file is 49 MB, and with the upload speeds here, that takes a while. After an hour I decide I’ll try again in the morning, when there’s less competition for bandwidth.

Back at the house Simon and David and Prince are telling stories with The Crew. Several of us are more tired than usual—one is already in bed—so I announce that we’re done for the day.  Over the years I’ve learned that forcing an evening team devotions time when everyone’s exhausted isn’t typically that helpful. So some of us go to b   asdjhhoeirehghrjnv  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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Dan Olinger

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

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