Saturday, August 3, 2013

Ain't No Party Like a Persian Tea Party

Well, this last week marked was my third official week in what I like to call The Canada (because I could never figure out why The Gambia and The Sudan were the only countries that got an article in front of their names), and my life has already begun to change.  A lot has happened since I last posted, so let me give you all a highlight real.

Things That Happened to Amy in the Last Three Weeks

1) Farsi Happened

Farsi is the language of Iran (and parts of Afghanistan), and it is very beautiful and very hard. Twice a week, Joan and I have Farsi class, where our dear friend Shahnaz is very patient with us as we struggle through vocabulary and verb tenses.  As soon as I figure out how to make Farsi notation, I'll do it for y'all. Until then, consider yourself transliterated.

Here are some things I have learned in Farsi:

"Yes, I like tea" -- Bale, man chai dustdaram

"I don't speak Farsi" -- man nimitonam Farsi harf bezanam.

"The spoon is on the chair" -- qashoq rooyeh sandalee ast.

When you speak to the Father, ask Him to help me with my language learning.  Ask Him to make a way for me with Farsi-speakers that I meet, so that I can be welcoming to them instead of rude (which is easy to do when you don't speak the language).

2) The Picnic Happened

My language learning is supplemented by a lot of asking "how do you say __ in Farsi," which is currently my favourite thing to talk about (note the use of the superfluous "u." These Canadians rub off on you).  Recently, I asked Miriam how you'd say "I want chai" versus "I don't want chai."

"You could say 'man chai mekham,'" she said, "but you would never say that."  Which I thought was strange, but I began to understand it after a couple of days. You would never have to say "I would like chai," because CHAI IS ALWAYS PRESENT.

Y'all. I've found my people.

And the best example of this would have to be the picnic we had last Monday.  There were about forty of us there (from both Kanoone Zendegi and Zendeh Church) and there were five very large camping teapots.  Did we use all of them, you may wonder? Yes. Yes we did.

And did we, you may also wonder, eat all 50 hamburgers and all 50 hot dogs? Yes. Yes we did.  And did we supplement with an entire cake, four watermelon, and like five bags of corn?  Aw yessss. Yes we did.

Jesus loves the little calories. All the little calories of the world.

We stayed at the lake for all 11 hours of that day, and it was just a fabulous time of fellowship.  "Fellowship," by the way, is a Christian-ese word for "eating a lot and enjoying each other's company."  When you pray, please ask the Father to bring more people into this wonderful group.  Ask Him to use this community to love Persian immigrants and refugees who are often so lonely here in Canada.  Pray that our events will be productive, instead of just fun.

3) My First Volunteer Team Happened

At the picnic, we also welcomed six brave souls from Boise State University, who gave up their time for a week to help us out and to share the news that God is crazy about people. We are planning on hosting several of these volunteer mission teams throughout the year, and I was honored to have these guys as my first team.  We were pretty demanding of them. We began the week by challenging the most common worldview of Western Christianity, and ended it by literally dropping them in the middle of the city and telling them to find their way out. I was proud of the way they were always willing to do anything we asked of them.

I love that, because I think that's the kind of thing God wants from us--not a perfect moral track record, not a certain type of theological education, but willingness to do what He asks of us. The words Christians often use for it are things like "availability" and "teachability," and what they really mean is an attitude that says, "Look, I don't know everything.  But God does.  So whenever I get the chance to do something that pleases Him, I'm going to take it."

4) A Lot of Spiritual Growth Happened

And, as it turns out, I'm pretty bad at looking at the world that way.  I kind of like feeling like I know everything, and I definitely opt out of doing things that please Him a lot of the time.  Things that please God are often things that I find thankless, messy, and inconveniently timed. But really, if I'm going to follow Jesus like I say I want to, it's time to acknowledge that it's not about me anymore.  I'll write more about this in later posts, but for now please ask the Father to help me be disciplined. Pray for my attitude, that He will make it a teachable one. Pray for my perspective, that my world would stop being so small.

But above all, thank Him for putting me here. It's my dream, y'all.  He gave me my dream.

Please feel free to email at any time, and don't forget that I always need donations (information about my new apartment is coming soon!!) I love you all like crazy. Alright, most of you.