The Buchele Adventure

This is record of the Buchele Adventure, as reported from West Africa.

Friday, July 20, 2012

So What is Cross Cultural Training?, part 2

So What is Cross Cultural Training?, part 2
It is said that the worst animal to tell you about the sea is the fish that swim in it, because a fish won’t know anything about water until they are one out it, and that is not the time to ask.  So it is that we receive Cross Cultural Training in a culture that is not our own, so that maybe, we begin to understand how the cultural waters we swim in, have affected us.
First of all it is cold here in Huancayo and neither the hotel nor the buildings we take classes in are heated, so all 50 of us are bundled up against the cold all day long.  Suzanne says, “it really doesn’t matter what I wear because nobody is going to see it” because every day it we’re dressed in winter coat.   By cold I mean high 40s, low 50s all the time, in the cafes, and other places everyone is bundled up.  Located at about 10,000 feet, the thin air makes it easy to lose your breath when climbing.  Yet Huancayo is strikingly beautiful, and the people are kind, and the food delicious.  I just “wish they’d turn the heat on” (que Gary P. Nunn’s song London Homesick Blues).
There are about 50 of us, one-third from Peru, and the rest from a smattering of countries, and the States.  I can’t show pictures of them because about half of the North Americans are heading to closed countries, where the fact they are going as Cross Cultural Workers won’t be known.  This was underscored earlier in the week when the news reached us that a missionary couple had just being expelled from Morocco because a post on Facebook had outed them as missionaries.    
Among the Peruvians, there are pastors and missionaries to the jungles of Peru. In their questions and comments, I come to appreciate the difficultly of their calling, and how thoughtful they are about following it.  We’re all humbled by Manuel, who has started 368 churches.  Each day we try to talk, by “talking” I mean each of us struggling with in our shallow command of the other’s language, but in his presence, I feel this other worldly all accepting love.  There is no judgment, it is a love like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.   
Abram, Manuel & Steve 
Manuel gave his testimony this week and we hear how he has planted churches all over this area.  He comes into a community and finds those whom the community has lost, “the crazy, drunken, and cursed.”   Through fasting and praying he begins to minister to those people, and then they to each other, and slowly they becoming the family each had given up hope of finding.  Eventually this new community becomes a body of believers who then reach out to the community that had once abandoned them.  He does all this with no money or support. 

Manuel even started churches in the areas were where the Shining Path was active in the 1980s.  The Shining Path is the brutal terrorist organization that was responsible, in its heyday for some 70,000 Peruvian deaths (according to the Council of Hemispheric Affairs).    In one area where he was working, Manuel was captured along with five others.  

They were blindfolded and handcuffed before being taken to another community, where they were essentially placed under house arrest in the hands of a Church in that community.  It turns out it was a church Manuel had started years before, but the terrorists didn’t know that.  After a week, the terrorists came for them and initially the church refused to turn them over, but then they were given a choice, which was not really a choice: hand them over or their families would die. 

They took Manuel and the five others to the soccer stadium, where they were beaten, and shot, and left for dead.  He remembers kneeling in a line, and then the back of head started feeling warm, and then nothing else. 

The terrorists left the bodies in the stadium to rot as a warning to the village to not resist the Shining Path.  A man from the church untied Manuel’s hands and feet and then laid him out, but nobody moved the bodies.

Five hours went by, and then Manuel wakes up.  He goes to the home where the church meets (it was the home of the man who had untied him) and knocked.  The believers open the door and saw it was him, and then slammed it shut, thinking his spirit come to haunt them.  Manuel talks to them in that same kind voice I have heard all week, and eventually are they let him in and offer him refuge. “All of the others were dead,” he says, and we see his eyes grow wet.

“Do you want to touch my wound?” he asked through the translator.  “He is asking you a question,” the translator added, “he is inviting you to touch his head so that you know his testimony is true,”.  So many, but not all of us come up there in no particular order, and touch the bullet hole in our brother’s skull. 

After the testimony, I went with another missionary to the bus depot nearby to pick up a package.  Walking back we saw a man struggling to walk in what we would call the passing lane of a busy highway.  He was swinging a bag full of empty 1 liter plastic bottles, and each step was a labored and difficult.  The missionary felt the spirit’s prompting to ask if he could assist him, and after a few minutes we helped him to the side of the road and began to flag down a taxi.   His name of Raul.

Just before the taxi arrived, Raul reached over and took my hand.  At first I thought he was wanting to steady himself, or maybe shake it, but he directed it to his head, like he wanted a blessing but then he pressed my fingers on a deep indentation on his head.  About the same time as the missionary translated,  my brain screamed, “its just like the hole in Emmanuel’s head!” 

“The police shot Raul in the head,” the missionary said, and “he wanted you to feel the bullet hole.”   I wanted to know why, to ask more, but a taxi arrived, and now we were working to get him into it, to let him be on his way to the market and sell his bottles.

A few days later I was telling Manuel this story, interpreted by the wife of the missionary I had shared the experience with, about touching two heads, with two bullet holes in them within15 minutes and he said: “You are beginning to understand the difficulties we  face here in Peru,” maybe, but I am nowhere near understanding what God was doing in those 15 minutes.    

This is Cross Cultural Training; I am indeed a fish out of water. 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bless you both, I can only shake my head and think how wonderful and fearsome God is!


2:20 AM, July 22, 2012  
Anonymous Larkin said...

I am at a loss for words. God bless you both.

2:12 AM, July 24, 2012  
Blogger Wilderness Wonderings said...

Wondered where you were, Steve. Guess you're in a very good place. Welcome to our world! Praying that good things come from your adventures....

11:20 AM, July 27, 2012  

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