Friday, February 5, 2010

Humbled by Respect

Marcie Harris & I are doing a women's leadership seminar this weekend in Bambara. We have invited all the pastors' wives from our town, plus at least one women's leader from each church. Last night was the opening meeting and there were 9 women; we will continue all day today and are hoping to get a few more.

I was thinking what a humbling experience this is. If I were invited to a seminar by a foreigner speaking heavily accented, broken English, purporting to be an expert on some subject, would I attend? I'm not sure I would. Yet these women come willingly. Why?

1. Because I'm a missionary. Most of them, or their parents, came to faith through missionaries, so there is an inherent respect for us.
2. Because there is a dearth of good Bible teachers in this land. In America we don't need foreigners to preach to us because there are so many fine 'native' Bible scholars. Here one takes whatever one can get, and with gratitude!
3. Because I'm white. Yeah, not very PC, huh? But the fact is that despite Malian resentment of colonialism, they accord to us a lot more respect than they do each other.

So may I not take this for granted, nor waste this opportunity. May I respect and honor them as they do me.

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