Thursday, July 10, 2008

We See Your Hearts

Today we made friendship bracelets with the mothers. One of them said “These bracelets mean that the Turkish women and the American women are friends.” Susan said “Yes, and don’t listen to what they say about Americans on TV.” “No, we see your hearts.”

Another Turkish woman said to me “That woman wearing the Burka thinks she’s better than us. But God doesn’t care about what you wear. He only cares if you’re a good person.” (Then she elaborated on what a “good” person was.) I said that Christians believe that no one can live a “good” life. We are self-serving, and we make mistakes. We aren’t always kind, but that through Jesus we are forgiven and He puts His Spirit in us to change us from the inside out. She said “I see a different Spirit in you. I never thought about that.”

This woman brings us chai (the Turkish word for "tea"), and wanted to be sure we took her picture. I am in heaven...tea and people who love their picture taken.

We had such fun today when one of the women spontaneously got up and danced and the rest of us clapped, sang and laughed. She urged others to join in. Later, someone said “The Roma women love to dance.” Ah. We connected so much with the Roma people in Albania, and our people have pointed them out in their horse drawn carts, calling them “Gypsies”. I said “Ask her if she calls herself ‘Roma’ or is it all right to call her a ‘Gypsy’. The woman said “Oh, no! We would never call her that to her face. It’s a very bad term.” Great. We only use the bad term when they can’t hear us. Although the Roma are more accepted than in other countries, there is still a lot of prejudice against them here, but the Roma do send their children to school, and fit into society. Often there is prejudice against the Kurds, too, who are often considered terrorists in this part of the world. A small group of violent Kurds have given them all a bad name.


jmp said...

It is sad that such a common word in our vocabulary has connotations never even envisioned. With racial or religious slurs in the US the speaker usually has some sense that there is a negative aspect to it. But we use the term gypsies without even thinking or considering the possibility that it is a bad thing - at least before I went to Albania I would use it without thinking.

Nancy said...

I loved your response to the woman who talked about God wanting us to be a "good" person. You made it so clear that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God", and that it is only by His Spirit living in us that any of us can be a "good" person. It is exciting to hear about how God is using you with these people.
I will be praying for your leadership of the team.
Love to you,