Pictured, my brother Paul (who works with Spectrum ministries) and his fiance. They are getting married in January. But that is not why I write.
We were delighted last night at Missions Month service to see these two attending.
Missions month has been surprising as usual. Last weekend they had that cow (remember the cow?) loose. This weekend that cow was tied up again.
The purpose of the cow - well, they are holy in India and you can not lift a finger or affect them negatively with nay a boo. So holy, we were told last night, that if a cow will urinate people will put their hands in the flow and/or drink it, 'cause its a "blessing".
There was a drama that a couple from our church did with their own 8 month old boy where they "drowned" (enactment) the baby in the River Ganges to satisfy some god or other. Everyone was in tears. Why? THIS STILL GOES ON FOR REAL!
Now tell me they don't need Jesus?
I guess that's the point of all this, to show the need.
I digress . . .
The speaker was a missionary to China. A Mexican who has committed to be a long term missionary with his wife to China. Last night he shared with us some cultural differences that he had to adjust to. At one point he was talking about their lack of privacy and general intimacy that is normal.
For example, and at this point he asked for some macho man to help demonstrate . . . (insert cricket sounds and desert wind blowing tumbleweed across the stage)
So, with much prompting, the congregation "volunteered" my brother. It started off OK, I guess. Our speaker said that it is not uncommon to see men, heterosexual men, rest their heads on each other like this: him standing side by side and leaning his head on my brother's shoulder like couples do watching a movie together.
And (he said it gets worse) it is normal for men to walk (grabbing my brother's hand) hand in hand.
And, here in Mexico, it is common for a man to take a lady's arm and lead her across the street. Even to place his hand on the small of her back and lead her across. Well, in China, man to man, especially with close friends, especially among the adolescents . . . normal, not uncommon . . . for them to place their hand - (and here he had us seeing them standing side by side by their profile, and he proceeded to place his hand down veeeeeery lightly on my brothers BUTT! At which point I'm sure my brother could have taken off in flight!) and lead each other across the street, hands on butt. Normal.
Ready to go, anyone?
The only reason this couple were back at all was because their first baby was diagnosed in utero with only half a heart when mommy was 6 months along. The doctors there told them to abort it. That's what is done to defected babies, so there is no medical help to sustain that type of life, to help them, to help the baby since the doctors don't deal with those type of "problems", they just abort it.
So this couple returned to Mexico to help their baby. Even so, all the surgeries and all they can do will only be to extend their baby's life. To help their little boy, Paulo Daniel, have a measure of a good life. He is given the name "Daniel" for the passage that says "If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us . . . But if not, let if be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods." Daniel 3: 17-18 Once all the surgeries and stuff is done here they are going back to China.