There are many things Bible College and personal study prepared me for…but nothing can prepare you for having “father-son talks” with a child who is not your son.
After reading a Bible story about Sampson this morning a boy motioned to a girl walking by my house and said: “see her she’s pregnant!” I asked why that was important and he (a 12-year-old) proudly told me he had slept with her.
Now the truth is he hadn’t done this, but at the age of twelve like most children on the island, he was sexually active.
Sadly I’m used to talking with children who lost their virginity before teenage years and find my being a virgin at forty-one hilarious (definitely wrong by Biblical standards).
As we continued talking about the Biblical principle of sex within marriage I asked him a question.
- Me: so what happens if your girlfriend gets pregnant
- Him: That won’t happen
- Me: But let’s just say it does
- Him: I will leave the Country
Don’t rush by that…here is a 12-year-old boy who has already committed himself to sexual activity, and is also prepared to leave whenever his girlfriend gets pregnant (according to him he’s already set money aside to get himself to another Country)
You have to ask yourself “where did he get an idea like that?”
it’s simple really….
From his father
Now this young mans father happens to be in Barrouaille but I can tell you there are a large number of young mothers left by themselves with small children because the father either left the Country, or ran to another part of the island.
To put it bluntly, one generation of gutless cowards (refusing to take responsibility for actions) has raised up another generation of gutless cowards.
As I explained to him that manhood isn’t about strength (or how many women you’ve been with) but character and commitment it didn’t seem to make a difference but that’s okay. I’m perfectly willing to have awkward father-son chats if that’s what it takes for the Gospel to shine through.
Last week Stephen Mcalpine had a very interesting (and sad) article that explains recent changes in the Queensland (Australia) school that “moved to ban Jesus from the playground in its State Government Schools.”
A recent article on the new law states:
Examples of evangelising cited in the review, as well as two earlier reviews into religious instruction providers, include sharing Christmas cards that refer to Jesus’s birth, creating Christmas tree decorations to give away and making beaded bracelets to give to friends “as a way of sharing the good news about Jesus”.
This redefining of evangelism (it’s no longer sharing the Gospel but giving out things that could possibly lead to a religious conversation) is another illustration of our culture’s attack on religious freedom. And these attacks will continue because as Macalpines article points out “they hate Jesus.”
The rapidly closing door of religious liberty is a call for Christians to take advantage of those mission fields (through short-term trips or financial support) where the door is still open (editors note: I’m not saying fields like Australia are closed to the Gospel, but there are fields that have fewer restrictions).
One of the greatest blessings of Saint Vincent is their openness to the Gospel:
- We can still openly hand out tracts and EVERYONE not only takes them but READS THEM
- Children especially are interested in getting as many tracts as possible to read. One Sunday a girl inside a car noticed I was handing out tracts and started yelling “I want one!”
- Secondary schools open the day with PRAYER and a DEVOTIONAL FROM SCRIPTURE!
- Amazingly even the prison system in Saint Vincent is open to the Gospel. It was amazing to see shirtless men with tattoos and large muscles asking for tracts. We were even able to stick them through the bars of prison cells (I’d probably get tased for trying that in America)
The hunger of Vincentian people for the Gospel calls for Missionaries, but more importantly, I realize it won’t always be that way.
I don’t believe that handing out Christmas cards will be outlawed in schools, but eventually the animosity the world has towards Christianity will reach here too.
people will stop reading tracts
they will argue instead of listening to the Gospel
Their hearts will become hardened to Scripture
So we must do all that we can before the door closes.
Yesterday serious preparations began for my parents visit in three-weeks on August 10th. This involves things you would expect like giving the house a thorough cleaning and stocking my fridge, but it also involves things you wouldn’t expect like fixing the AC in my car.
Since I bought my car last summer the air-conditioning would only work in the morning and evening when the weather was cooler. So most of the day I just drive with the windows down.
The truth is I needed to get the AC fixed, but it’s a lot easier to “put up with things” as a bachelor missionary.
Being a bachelor missionary (single adult male in missions work) is I believe a specific call from God which has special blessings.
- It gives more freedom (lots easier for a single man to pack a bag and go alone than organizing travel plans for a family)
- All energy is focused on ministry
- And more time can be used to reach others for Christ
Bachelor missions can become a curse however because it’s easier to put up with daily frustrations (like having no air-conditioning) when it’s just you. If I had a wife or children the AC would be fixed for their comfort, but being a single man made it a lot easier to “put up with” the lack of comfort.
Actually the curse of bachelor missions has nothing to do with AC (having my window down makes things cool enough) but about making the denial of comfort a badge of honor.
Being on the mission field makes very clear most things we look upon as necessities are actually luxuries. Of course, this means most things on the “luxury list” you live without, but it’s not a bad thing experiencing a luxury from time to time.
In other words….just because I CAN “put up with” no AC in my car doesn’t mean God WANTS me to.
Monday morning I will leave my car with the local auto mechanic and Lord willing by Wednesday have the air-conditioning fixed. I’m grateful that mom and dad will enjoy the cool air as we drive through Saint Vincent, but also thankful for God’s reminder that enjoying a luxury isn’t a sin.
After being in Saint Vincent for almost two years in most ways I pass for Vincentian in fact, they refer to me as a “Vincy.” But there are still moments when I’m clearly American, like when I’m forced to back down a road.
Some roads in SVG are too small for two vehicles so a vehicle going up meets one coming down it’s obligated to back down the road till there is space to pull over, or the other vehicle can get by.
For Vincentians, this is a normal part of life…but for me, it’s a worst-case scenario
American moments aren’t that big of a deal with the Vincy’s because they know backing down a road isn’t normal for me. What keeps me up at night is the embarrassment of those moments.
Normally my backing down a road
- Attracts a large crowd of Vincentians (who all tell me how to drive)
- People telling me I can’t drive
- And heightened level of stress
The good news is most roads in Barrouaille are big enough for two vehicles, the bad news is Church is one of the smaller ones. So as I prayed “Lord help your word impact hearts” I was also praying “Lord PLEASE don’t let anyone be on this road!”
For a long time, I never met anyone on the Church Road. However out of the last five times driving people home from Church THREE OF THEM required my backing up, and I had to do it TWICE IN THE LAST WEEK!
Now if someone had told me a few months ago I would experience three American moments in one month my response would be walking to Church! However, as I experienced my worst nightmare that many times an interesting happened. It wasn’t so scary anymore.
- The first time I was a nervous wreck
- The second time I was annoyed but able to keep my frustration under control
- And the third time I backed down calm as a cucumber while smiling at Vincentians (and NOBODY told me how to drive!)
It’s easy to view American Moments as a curse because they loudly proclaim to everyone my weakness. But it’s a blessing to know I’ll become more Vincentian in my driving (someday) and till then my inability to back down the road without breaking into a cold sweat draws me closer to my Saviour.