Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The brightly colored garb presented by Amazigh women in North Africa reflects a stark contrast to the plain colors the men wear for their traditional dances. In these photos, an ancient movement called a Ha'wash, was being performed (yes they invited me to's not like I really had a choice).
Eating the food of other cultures can be a great experience. It can also be less than that. We never know until we try how our bodies are going to react to the ingestion of things we have never put in our mouths before.
While in Africa, we ate from tajines. These are large ceramic, flattened bowls that hold quite a bit of food. It is placed in the center of the table and all share the food from that one bowl. You are only welcome to the pizza wedge in front of you. Of course, it is not sliced like pizza, so the lines are imaginary, and you must be careful not to overstep your bounds.
We ate a great deal of Couscous in Africa. My body handled it well, my mind grew weary of it a little too quickly.
In Peru this summer, we ate a lot of chicken and fries. The fries always came with mayonesa. It is similar and yet different to our mayonnaise. It is a delicious combination. When Beej came home talking about it, I thought it was disgusting. When I tasted it, I changed my mind!
Lauren came home from India with great stories about the food. She really enjoyed it. Recently, when a new Indian restaurant opened near our office, we made a point of going there to try the food. Lauren was very excited. I was very nervous.
When we got inside, it smelled like I expected. The servers were all from India, and spoke broken English. Lauren soon discovered that our server was from the city she ministered in this summer. She was excited.
I fought off the urge I always seem to have no matter what country I am in. I always want to speak Spanish to people who don't speak English. Unless I'm in Latin America, it isn't going to help. However, it is always my first instinct, as it is the only other language I pretend to speak. Voicing my inclination caused Lauren's face to match the color of the food I was about to eat.
I have never seen food this red...except jello. This chicken had been marinating all night and was the color of embarrassment. When I put it in my mouth, it tasted like potpourri. Not that I've ever eaten potpourri, but it certainly tasted like the smell.
I ate many other things I have never tasted before...after all it was a lunch buffet. This would only happen in America. I don't think the people in India get to eat quite this well.
I can honestly say I enjoyed the experience. I can honestly say my body did not. For the next two or three days, it reminded me frequently. No one else had these issues. I was the lucky one.
We have a video of Beej's first trip to Peru. In it, he sips a drink he has never tasted before. The audio is pretty bad, but he reports that the concoction tastes like "liquid potpourri." He grimaces, then moves on to talk about the food he actually likes.
I never related to that until I tasted this 'red chicken.'
I won't be doing that again (at least not in America).
Embracing the cultures that the Lord leads us to is a part of the missions experience. There are many things we must learn. One sacrifice we never make is changing the truths of the Gospel. However, we must learn about the culture we are in so that we can find ways to make it relevant for them. Missionaries have been doing this for eons.
We don't seem to be very good at doing this in our own country. We keep practicing the same traditions and expect them to bring about results that we have not seen in a long time. His Truth will never change. The way we make it relevant to people where they are, must.
We need to release our non scriptural traditions, and meet those in need where they are.
It might even happen over a dish we have never tried before.


At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the cultural differences are exciting! And awkward sometimes and un-tasty sometimes....I've told folks that accompany us on our trips out of country to just act like you always do it this way yourself, and DO NOT GRIMACE--that part is difficult to control....

Toward the end of your post, I was reminded of an explanation given by a man in our home Bible study group this past Sunday evening. In dealing with people who haven't come to Christ yet, we MUST have a certain level of tolerance and acceptance. Our own standards, preferences, and comforts are not the most important issue. AND, Christians often don't seem to realize that a person can't be discipled until after he comes to faith in Christ. (I had not heard it worded that way before). Often we're too worried about the person changing his or her behavior, when they haven't even had a heart change yet!

I've also heard it stated that "non-Christians are just acting like non-Christians..." Why should we expect anything different until they experience God's love and grace?

Anyway, it gave me something to think about, and I wanted to share it...

See ya!

Love, Jolene

At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is so good! Though I am sorry that that place didn't agree with you, I enjoyed it (except for the price!) But I am wanting some chicken and fries and mayonesa right now!

At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow many dfferent things... Nice Brent... Of course, I wish I could try these different things, even become a missionary, but my parents forbid it. I pray that God can give me some ideas, will lead me to find out what my purpose in life it for God's will to be done. I have a fuzzy idea of what I should do, but God is still working in my life. And somehow, it coming through BJ, and many other places. I pray and God answers(in more ways than one!! Exciting!) and I pray for some leading and understanding. He can help me.
God bless you Higgins family. I pray every day for you. Every morning and night, and anytime in between. Thank you for everything(as I should be thanking God also, which I hope I am^) God be with you in these times. And go Lauren!
In Christ,


Post a Comment

<< Home