Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Minibus Gospel Part 1 (Apologies to Steve Allen)

So those of you that know the Allens might have heard about this already. And for those of you that I've talked to about it - sorry this took so long to get down. But here it goes.

Last year our friend and AZ co-worker Steve Allen (now on semi-permanent home assignment for church planting) shared this story with me and his experience in using it to start conversations with people about the gospel here in Lusaka. I think he actually got the example from someone else, and maybe it's been around a long time but it's still very effective. I am often sitting around in offices, hardwares, homes, etc with little to do but wait for the person I need to see to show up. I also spend a lot of time in the truck driving to and from town with strangers or people I barely know. I tend to ask as many questions in nyanja as I can and when I run out of phrases and language, I'll lapse into silence, read a book, or walk around the block to keep from pulling out my hair in boredom or frustration at having to wait forever for the most basic thing. But I've started to use this story to start long, interesting conversations about how people see sin, grace and the gospel. It goes like this.
A certain man was riding to town on a minibus. He road the bus everyday and knew the fare was 2 pin (about 45 cents). He's a good man, a godly man. He believes fully in his own salvation through the work that Jesus did on the cross. He's a good father and husband who is a deacon in his church and even sings in the choir. But today, when the minibus started off towards town the conductor forgot to ask him for his money. It was a busy route and there were so many people getting off and on that he lost track and forgot about this man. The man thought little of it but when he reached town he remembered that he had not paid. He decided that since the conductor had failed to ask for his fare, then he would just not pay it. As he exited the bus, he looked back over his shoulder to see if the conductor would remember and give chase. And while he was looking back, another minibus crashed into him and he was instantly killed. Where does this man spend his eternity? I think the answer you give deeply reveals what you believe about grace and about how we are saved.

Now, if you knew the Zambians I knew, the simple joy that most of them have in their faith, the way they love Jesus, then you would be even more surprised to find out that everyone says, “Hell! That man must spend his eternity in hell of course.” Whoa. Wait a minute, that guy’s going to hell? Why? The answers vary but touch on the same things - this man sinned and sin must be punished and/or this man sinned and did not repent before he died. When Steve told me that everyone said, “hell,” I didn’t believe him. But sure enough, that was the answer I always got. What do you think?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Why We Love Our Truck

I'm sure I've written about this before. When our director insisted that we have a big turbo diesel 4wd Toyota Prado, we worried about gas milage and whether our family of three really needed a seven-seat SUV. Considering the road to Ciyanjano, and most of the roads we use when visiting people and churches in the compounds, the tall, 4wd power is a must for rainy season mud bogs. But even when we're not in the compounds or rural areas, we but the truck through some major work. This week was a big week for the Toyota. I hauled 12 heaps of flagstones, 100kgs of lime, 100kgs of fertilizer, 200kgs of mulch, 15 trees and plants, 8 mukwa doors, concrete blocks, two toilets, a hot water heater, machine parts for our maize sheller, various builders, plumbers, technicians, teachers and about 100 school kids hitching to and from class. We're like a Toyota commercial almost every day of the week. So thanks again to all the people who gave towards our start up costs to buy the truck, and to all the people who give so we can keep it running. We'd be in trouble without it!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Boys and Girls

Now that I've been parenting a boy and two girls for over a year now, a number of people have asked me about the dynamic with my kids and what it was like becoming the mom of two girls all of a sudden. I am hardly an expert on anything about these kids or about adoption but here are just a few of my observations:

1. One immediate change in my parenting was that I had to start thinking more about clothes and hair things. Ethel and Mutale are extremely interested in how they look. They love girly clothes and little hair ties and barrettes and the like. Lucas isn't really into that stuff although he occasionally combs his hair and talks about how handsome he is.
2. Before adoption I would try not to curse as I stepped barefoot on matchbox cars and legos. Now I try not to curse as I step barefoot on matchbox cars, legos, tiny doll brushes, and the above-mentioned hair ties and barrettes, beads, etc.
3. Just because a little girl is sitting on the toilet, doesn't mean she might not get pee on the floor.
4. Both little girls and little boys love to play house, dress-up, wedding, etc. But, only Lucas seems to decide mid-game that he is actually a monster that is now going to eat up everyone. Ethel and Mutale would quietly play at their kitchen forever if Lucas wasn't there to shake things up. But let's face it, everyone loves to play monsters too.
5. When a bunch of boys are playing together you can call them a gang, but when a bunch of girls are playing together you might as well call them a giggle.
6. When it comes to the dynamic between all my kids I will say that we are so lucky. The kids seem totally bonded and pretty tight. Lucas and Mutale both look up to their big sister, Ethel, and they do compete a bit for attention. But when she is off at school, Luke and Mu are the best of friends.
7. Lastly, I've observed that both little boys and little girls love to dance around naked in front of the bathroom mirror. I don't know if it is vanity or pure silliness but whenever I walk into the bathroom I am likely to catch a kid goofing off in front of the mirror... making faces, shaking their booties, you name it.
8. The idea of parenting girls kind of scared me and I always pictures having boys. But in the end, they still like Lightning McQueen and they still loving getting completely filthy, they just get completely filthy in princess dresses...