Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Call Me Humpty

I spent most of last week nursing my wounded ego back to health by singing “Jesus loves me this I know…even if no one comes to my seminar.” I realize that this doesn’t rhyme at all but that’s ok because I’m about as musical as a stick of celery. Anyway, I’m thinking of publishing the song in a book called Hymns for Him. You see, men have egos roughly as fortuitous as eggshells and we occasionally need a little affirmation. The truth is, we’re all Humpty Dumpty. I say that more to just hear myself say it, rather than to actually inform anyone because most women are well acquainted with this fact (it turns out), and so are most men.

It’s just more fun to pretend we aren’t.

We had the second of our youth seminars on Saturday, and I am delighted to inform you that we had 17 kids show up and consequently I sort of felt like Benny Hinn preaching to the multitudes (only minus the white suit, the big hair and the dispensational theology).

The whole thing has been educational for us. We have discovered some challenges that we hadn’t planned on, and begun to see what works and what doesn’t.

One of the most interesting things we discovered was during the very first session of the first day. We were talking about dreams. The idea was to get the kids talking about their dreams in life and then to talk about what kinds of things might prevent those dreams from becoming a reality – things like sex before marriage, or drinking beer or not going to school. What really shocked me though, was that everyone’s dream was virtually the same: to have a stable job. It was that non-descript and that simple. Not to be an astronaut or a doctor or a firefighter or anything like that. Just to have a job. Any job that you could go to day after day, week after week, year after year so that you could take care of a family.

The most sobering moment of the seminar came during one of the activities that reinforced a lesson. It became apparent that one of the girls, who looked to be about 14, couldn’t read. She didn’t tell anyone, and was clearly wanting us to think that she could. I imagined how hard life must be for her and it occurred to me that illiteracy is probably more widespread than we know. This reality will create its on set of challenges as we plan future events.

The best thing that happened though was that we seem to be inching toward becoming friends with these kids. I think at first we were just a couple of weird white people doing the weird stuff that white people do and were looked at with a mix of curiosity and skepticism. But after the first session we had a wonderful little discussion on soft drinks. We had tried to explain to some of the guys that in some parts of the States, soft drinks (called “softies” here in Zambia) are called “pop” while in other parts they are called “sodas” and in still other parts people just call them “cokes” no matter what brand you want.

To which one particularly bright guy named Elvis said, “in that part where they call everything cokes, how do you order a Sprite?” Smart kid.

Another of the kids came over to our house earlier this week and was helping us with some stuff, and he casually mentioned, “I really love your teachings. They’re so practical.”

And as quickly as he had fallen, Humpty was back on the wall.

Life is good.

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