Friday, May 6, 2011
Conversations along the way.
Being a missionary in Lima generates some interesting conversations at times.
In the past week, as I write this, I have had a conversation about Indian (subcontinent) marriage customs, and I came to understand that a dowry (perhaps $100,000 or more, in general) was the passing along of an inheritance, as part of an arranged marriage, even in India today.
Also this week, there was the story of the missionary who was explaining the Gospel to an Amazon tribe that did not have a written language. After a year relating the biblical accounts, he was talking to an elder of the tribe in a conversation, and the elder said: "we like your stories. Too bad they are not true." The missionary was puzzled by this. The elder explained. "Where you stand, is where people tell stories that are not true. True stories are told over there." He pointed to another part of the room.
Another conversation noted that the Quechua language that is spoken in Ayacucho, Peru, is the same version that is spoken near La Paz, Bolivia, on the other side of the Andes mountains. This is remarkable, considering the varieties of Quechua spoken throughout the region; the language differs from town to town. The explanation for the similarity dates back to the time of forced relocations of whole villages in the time of the Incas, the Incas moving whole peoples from places now in Peru to places now in Ecuador and in Bolivia.
And I was talking with an entrepreneur. A considerable part of the profit of his company, after paying salaries, etc., goes to support mission work of the Gospel.
Another interesting part of the week was a conversation on how to present the scriptures to peoples in the Amazon jungle who do not yet have a written language. The question on the table was: "how do you do that?" The people around the table represented different missionary organizations, and some of them were involved with the translation of the scriptures, mostly for peoples who have a written language. One man was about to go off to the jungle to encounter people groups who did not yet have a written language. There was no consensus of an answer. In fact, no one said much of anything. I suggested contextual pictographs.
Then, there was the story of a young lady in the jungle who was walking along a path, stepped on top of what appeared to be a log across the path, and went down to a river to swim. A friend joined her. She learned from her friend that the "log" was actually a huge snake, which had been sleeping. The young lady did not believe her friend, but sure enough, on the way back, it was still there, sleeping, and large enough to eat a person....
It has been a very interesting week.
Missionaries serving in Lima, Peru.
• For our relationships, priorities, ministries, and finances.
God bless you, and thank you for your continuing support! I pray for you, every day.
Shaw+, and on behalf of Julie+ and Lydia