Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Breakfast Club

Every Thursday I am meeting with four of my pastors from my class for
breakfast at my house. It has been a continual highlight of each week. Each
week is so different and that isn't just what I choose to make (I made
pancakes and eggs this morning!) The above picture was a morning where we
actually didn't eat, but prayed for a good length of time. Today we spent
the morning talking about culture. It started when my wife walked out to
give me my coffee. I got up to get the coffee and said to her with a smile
on my face, "Do you want to walk out on our knees and give me my coffee?"
She laughed and said, "No." I went on to share with the pastors in
Stephanie's presence about my first experience where a pastor's wife brought
out food to me and this pastor on her knees. The pastors said that only
still happens in the villages, that in the city like Lusaka, cultures begin
to blend and new ideas and cultures are formed through learning and talking.
But, then my wife went over and picked up the finished plates and standing
amidst the sitting pastors, asked them a few questions to be polite. I
found out later after she left, what she thought she was doing to be polite,
was actually a huge Zambian no-no. A woman never stands when in the
presence of seated men. They were not offended at all, but it was shared
only to have a laugh and get a little insight into their culture. This led
to a long hour conversation on culture that in the midst of it wished I
could bottle up and just throw it on to the blog. Culture is everything and
as one pastor said, "When you grow up in a small village, all you know is
what you learn when you are little." This pastor was sharing how he
couldn't talk to his mother-in-law until they had their first baby.
Literally. Not one word was spoken between the two of them until they had
their first baby. Another pastor shared how he has never put his arm around
his mother. And another shared how when a daughter comes of age, puberty,
the father and the daughter do not talk. If they need to communicate, they
will either pass a note or communicate through someone else. Anyway, it was
very interesting to hear how different cultures are so different. And the
well is so deep. Just when I think I am beginning to understand the Zambian
culture, I learn more and more and more. It is just a reminder that if you
want to be a missionary in Zambia or in your neighborhood, we have to learn
the culture before we communicate the good news if you want long term
ministry.

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