We recently visited one of the city’s main churches and found that improvements and expansions are being made to the church grounds. Stately new pillars have been added along a walkway and upon closer inspection we noted that some of them were still in the process of being carved! No machine could do such detailed work as we were seeing. The intricate details carved into the stone are awe inspiring, beautiful, and often full of hidden meaning. Stone carving is not a lost art here!
This week we begin team meetings to plan for the upcoming academic year. Will you pray for us as a team and with us over this city? Join us in lifting this year up as we create events and classes, extend invites to former and new students, make connections with businesses and universities, and work together as a team to accomplish the task set before us. Pray also for wisdom, team unity, and boldness as we move into another busy year together. We know that prayer is powerful and we are seeking Him as we prepare for what lies ahead.
We have discovered that we stand apart from other teaching businesses here in the city when we keep the center clean, well lit and inviting. We certainly want the facility to look professional and yet we don’t want to spend big money on constantly changing decor. That’s how the “clipboard wall” was created. It is such an easy way to add a fresh look to the classroom and this set of horses was a favorite of one of our students.
We often see examples here in the city of misspelled words in English and I especially loved these “Brid” party items. Spelling words in English can be quite difficult for locals because their language does not have any silent letters; every letter always makes a sound. English is tricky with all the silent letters and various combinations! Teaching English has given us an amazing open door to people’s hearts and lives.
I sat with a commercial realtor and worked on three emails that he was sending to clients in English, and I realized what a difference it makes for him to communicate with confidence. By adding value to his life I have the opportunity to earn his respect and within the context of trust I can then ask deeper questions and share the good news of the gospel.
Living in this city we often hear the complaint of bad smog and the desire to be where the air is fresh. Although it’s not always possible to leave the city, we can rise above it. Picnics and barbeques are a way for the locals to get some fresh air while enjoying the view of their city. It’s a great way to connect, experience local cooking techniques and take in some “good” smoke.
Community means taking care of each other. I attended an art fair that was to benefit locals with developmental problems. The exhibition was made up of local artisans that were selling their crafts to raise money for the center and those who benefit from it. One lady was selling sweet bread with sweet walnuts rolled inside and trust me, it was as good as it sounds. She talked about her local, fresh, village ingredients and how even if she lost money selling them here, it was worth it for these beautiful souls. I am constantly amazed at how these people care for each other. Something we all learn from everyday.
Green places and spaces are few in the city. It has been encouraging to see more effort being put towards creating and re-landscaping parks and planters along walkways. It is also nice to know that there is actually someone who waters those plants, especially in these summer temperatures!
“I am thankful for tourism because it helps my country.”
Lord, the beauty that You have created here has drawn people for centuries — both conquerors and friends. Please continue to protect the ancient paths that You have established, and preserve this place.