We are all well and in good health, enjoying ourselves in this hot and humid place.
It is 6.30am, and ‘She who must be obeyed’ continues to sleep soundly. As does Anne. So The All Blacks will play the Wallabies in the final…
Yesterday was Sunday. Not Sunday like in NZ where churches meet to worship the Lord, but Sunday that are just like our Mondays. Shops are open, schools begin their week of teaching and life goes on. Here the Thursday and the Friday are the weekend. Still the Christians meet together on either the Saturday or the Sunday – depending on who you are.
I volunteered to go and preach at a little church a few days ago, so got my message ready. Then at about 3.30pm set off with the pastor, who had come to a meeting at R&C’s place, in an adventure of a life time. The pastor spoke a little English, and me, wel I spoke no Bangla.There would be a translator I was told. So off Iwent. Notin a nice cool minivan but in a “put-put’, a three wheeled taxi that had all the openings enclosed with metal grills. I could see out, and the wind blew in, but it was still hot and humid.
I think God loves adventure!!! It took us about and hour or so, maybe longer, to travel from the south of Dhaka, where we arer staying, to go some 14kms to the north, just near the airport. The traffic was diabolical. Buses loomed over us from a hands-breadth away, motor cycles weaving in and out of the nose-to-tail traffic. Stop, start, then stop and wait. Then start again only to stop 10 metres further along. Organised
os. The pastor pointed out landmarks from time to time. So I would nod my head as if I understood, which I didn’t. I need my hearing checked when Iget back to Chch. I think the ear infection is still affecting me.. However, the shops and the markets, the piles of rubbish, the people weaving through the traffic, and all sorts of other goings-on kept my attention on the road and the trip.
We eventually arrived at the drop-off point. There were people everywhere. Thousands, all going somewhere, all with a purpose, all looking for their homes or places of business. And I not understanding a word.
The pastor led me over the dual carriage way, that had some 4 or 5 lanes of traffic, on a foot bridge. People sitting on the side begging, others scurrying along, intent on their own destination, and I looking at everything around, drinking it in as if my life depended on it. Thinking at time, ” Am I a target for someone….?
On the other side of the road I followef the pastor across a raillway crossing, happily no trains coming, and in to an area that a tourist would never see.
A street market., maybe 10metres wide for the “road” then all sorts of goods for sale. Veggies, fish, steel rods for building, sacks of rice (I suppose), vehicles being repaired. The smells and sights. Chickens sitting docile in cages. All this and more. Hundreds of people were walking around, or sitting in a sort of coffee or tea shop drinking and talking. What do all these people do???? It seemed like sensory overload big time.
Suddenly the pastor turned off to the left, and like an obedient little lamb I followed. We walked for about 10 mins through little narrow streets. There are no footpaths here. The building rise 6 or 7 stories straight from the roadside. Then there is the odd open space – full of overgrown weeds and rubbish.The ground floor is of shops. 3 or 4 metres wide. Grocers, mini-mini-mini markets, and a myriad other sort of things they sell. Watch your step!!!
Eventually we arrived at the church. The ground floor of an appartment block. The pastor and his family live there as well. He has a daughter, who spoke good English, and a younger son. We were about 45 mins early, so I sat and spoke to those who came early. One man said fome a distance to attend.
5.00pm we began, and when I looked round, for I was sitting at the front, the place was very full. Some 23-30 adults, and many children. The first4 45mins was all in Bangla, and I did not understand a word. But God was there. I clapped during the singing and prayed when they did. Then I was asked to speak. A young mancme forward to translate for me.
I have been in similar places in other countries. The Lord is there, present, wanting to meet with His people. What a privilage to be able to speak to them the Word of Life! After greetig them I thought “Lord whatI had prepared did not seem suitable, so what di I do!” After what seemed like an age (5-10 seconds maybe), I began and for the next 45 mins, with translation, spoke about how the spirit of God wants us to open our lives to His presence in everything we do. Some spoke English, so when the translator struck a difficult word, they would find the right word. It was wonderful!! God was there.
This taking an age to write….
When I eventually left, thepastor took me back to the railway crossing. At the precise moment we arrived to stand beside the road my transport arrives. PTL.Then a long journey back to R&C’s place. Thoroughly blessed by God, more than a lttle tired, but content and buzzing with the goodnes and grace of this amazing God we serve.
So, what were Wendy and Anne doing? Out spending my hard earnt money!!!! Well theirs as well. Buying things to take back to Chch for family and friends.
It is now 7.24am, and time to finish. Today is going back to GEMS and helping some more as we are able. Then only 4 more sleeps and we fly home. Where is home? It can only be where the presnce of God is, as I feel at home here, content to be in a foreign land telling about this amazing God who cares deeply for everyone of us.
Shalom, and peace be with you, today and everyday.
Peter, wendy and Anne
John 12: 23ff