Conversations here have really run the gamut of human emotion. Blaringly sad, brutally honest, downright strange: we’ve had them all. Here are a few of the sound bites I have experienced this week from all kinds of different people. Try to imagine what you would say after these if you would like to identify with the humorous/overwhelmed/appreciative/confused/panic-inducing state of mind we have been in while we are here.
“I’m 83 and just waiting to die.”
“Sure I pray but it doesn’t give me any hope. Its all just in my head anyway.”
“I saw a bright light and a voice told me that He was the true God. I then began reading the Bible and following Jesus.”
“This world is so hard. It’s hard to find any hope here.”
“Jesus never said He was God.”
“I believe that Jesus is alive in Heaven. He is coming back one day to point people to Muhammed.”
“I’m Roman Catholic but I never go to church. I guess I’m a backslider.”
“America has 11 million drunkards and 44 million people who are heavy drinkers. Why do they think they can fix the rest of the world?”
“I had rashes all over my skin. A Christian woman was the only person who was willing to hug me. I’ll never forget that hug.”
“I can’t see why God would need a sacrifice of a person to make things right. Can you explain it?”
These are just a small sampling of the things we have heard. There have been a lot of moments of honesty here in a way that is sometimes hard to find in America.
It’s also been interesting to see how books and covers don’t always match. The stereotyper in me has had to go on vacation this week. I’ve seen scary-looking guys get the most innocent and sheepish smile when I talk with them. Men whom I was sure were coming to get angry with me came to thank me. I’ve learned that I can’t call what is about to happen.
We have changed gears here a bit and are now staying with K & J whom many of you at The Kirk would have met this past April. They are working in a different part of London. Last night we got the privilege of taking part in a men’s discussion group, which is an open event where men from the community come out to talk about any topic they like as a group. Never before have I been a part of a four hour conversation (we eventually had to kick them out because they could have kept going) that ranged topics from the necessity of atonement in Jesus, to the ingredients of cigarettes, to the ethics of invading Syria, the cost of their water bill, and back to atonement again. It’s really quite a ride.
We fly home tomorrow. I’m sure we’ll discuss on the plane our thoughts from being here so come back at least once more. Thank you again for being a part of this journey with us.