Monday, May 23, 2016

Cambodia, Day 14

Day one at Rahab's House in S. P. On a scale of one to ten, I give it a 7.8. It wasn't great, wasn't even solidly good, but it wasn't a meltdown.

The first hour, I taught a storytelling class to five young adults. We introduced ourselves and did a little icebreaker, and then I talked through the five reasons to tell stories: to teach, to strengthen group identity, to speak for the unheard, because it's fun, and to testify of God's goodness. I then asked them to choose three stories that they would like to polish up and deliver: one from the Bible, one from their own lives, and one that hadn't happened to them personally, but they knew about: history, or news, or something along those lines. The Bible stories they picked were ambitious: Job, Jonah, David and Bathsheba, Jesus walking on water, and I can't remember the fifth. For the personal story, all five wanted to work on their testimony. For the third person nonfiction story, two want to tell the story of S. P., one wants to tell the story of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, one wants to tell a revenge story she heard someplace, and the fifth wants to tell the story of the Titanic.

The second hour, we convened the first day of a weeklong Bible study on Leviticus 11 - 25. Today was just the overview, so we talked about why, in the Good Samaritan, the priest and Levite passed the robbery victim on the other side of the street, and why Isaiah through he was undone in his vision in chapter six. Those were the springboard for a broad, conceptual discussion of clean vs. unclean, and tomorrow we get down to details. We then fellowshipped with the Rahab's House disciples for an hour and a half: an hour of a very energetic name-learning game, followed by lunch together. They gave us a tour of all their living centers and job centers, and by two PM it was time for Kids Club.

Kids Club didn't go badly, given the material we were asked to teach: it's the same as the morning Bible study, the laws of clean and unclean in Leviticus. We played a little game where Delia and Sara planned what to take on a picnic, while the kids yelled "Clean!" or "Unclean!" in Khmer after every selection. Some of the lesson was just unavoidably dull, and the room was hot, but our translator spiced it up with some creative sound effects and a hilarious imitation of the voice of God. This part is where there's the most room for improvement. We've got to figure out a way to make these lessons more eventful and interactive. Not easy, when you're teaching Levitical cleanliness laws, but it's a challenge and we deal in those.

The kids are wonderfully bold. Four or five have reached for my goatee, and I held still while they ran their fingers through it. So far, nobody's tried to yank it. A few have also helped themselves to rubbing my bald head, which is especially funny after all Pastor Troy's warnings that the top of the head is sacred in Khmer culture, and no one ever touches anyone on the head. But in our own culture, small children do all sorts of things that violate norms; it just means they're not too far along in the process of enculturation.

Leftover funny moment from Saturday: in the morning, Pastor Troy said something silly about the possibility of giraffes at the wildlife refuge. Afterward, at dinner, Mary Jo said "Troy, I thought there were supposed to be giraffes." Troy was distracted, so she repeated herself a couple of times. Calvin looked absolutely shocked, and after a confusing exchange, he explained that he thought she said "Troy, I thought I was supposed to beat your" something that rhymes with glass. That would be quite out of character for Mary Jo. So then this morning, I was talking Delia through the parts of the Kids Club lesson, and the last part was "What does this tell us about Jesus?" Delia got wide-eyed, and finally said she heard it as I was planning to hand out cigarettes. Apparently we're all getting too tired either to enunciate properly, or maybe just to listen carefully.

This evening, Troy told us about a raid that went down today. It's unclear to me how detailed I can be, since a lot of AIM's activities have to be fairly closely guarded secrets, so all I'll say is that God is good.

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