Let me take you down one of my favorite streets in our bustling city! As you walk with me, you’ll notice vendors (apples on the right), a beggar asking for loose change (around :30 mark on the right), and lots of passers-by. These are the people we live with and rub shoulders with every day. This is our neighborhood. Would you pray that as we walk through the streets we would be vessels of God’s love to each one that we encounter?
These are four ladies we have in our Tuesday morning English conversation class. Three are married and one has two children. These women are becoming so special to us. Will you pray with us by name for these girls and the conversations we hope to have with them as our relationship deepens? (L to R) Lizi, Meggie, Teo, and Jilda.
If you ever visit us in GM, we will take you for a spin on the underground metro train system! The system consists of two main lines serving 22 stations, and it is often the most efficient way to get around the city quickly. While our city’s population is roughly 1.5 million, it is estimated that there are well over 100 million “metro rides” each year! This video shows the view from the platform as we wait for the train to arrive (often one train every 5 minutes or so).
We enjoyed an evening of reading the story of Jesus’ birth, singing carols, and painting salt dough ornaments with the group of students who have been gathering with us for the past several months to study the Word. It has been exciting to see those who have never read scripture on their own before come to realize that “God is merciful.” Pray that this community of faith continues to grow deeper in understanding His truth and what that means for them personally this coming year.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18
As we wait in anticipation, let us rest in the promises of the God who came to save us.
There are several times throughout the year when the local religious calendar demands various types of fasting (often fasting from SPECIFIC INGREDIENTS like dairy or meat). Due to this fasting practice, we have to be sensitive regarding the food/snacks we serve to students at the Center, or to guests in our homes.
At a local grocery store, they have made the process of searching for “fasting products” a bit easier by providing these small green signs that indicate the food has been prepared accordingly. This is great example of the massive influence of the local religious tradition over every area of life–even the grocery store.
Earlier this month, we hosted a Christmas event at the Center. It was a lot of fun, but it was also a great time of sharing. The students participated in a traditional, American Christmas pageant complete with Christmas carols, a dramatic reading of the nativity story, and a little “preaching” at the end. Join us in praising God for the chance to challenge students to consider who God is, and what His coming means for us. And, please join us in praying for the hearts and lives of this group (pictured below). He is working!!
One cultural thing (among many, many things!) that has surprised us is that nativity sets seem to be almost non-existent here. In a country where the national church is at the center of many things, it seems like in terms of Christmas decorations–Christ has really been left out of Christmas! Western looking Santas, and flashy, kitschy decorations seem to be the trend.
So far in our search, we’ve only found two! Last year, one teammate found a woodworker selling these sets at a Christmas Bazaar. And THIS year, another teammate asked a local friend to crochet a set (she did this by looking at a picture–amazing!!)