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3. Miniskirts, Mothers, & Muslims

Homer Trecartin

Presenter

Homer Trecartin

President of the Midle East and North Africa Union (MENA)

Conference

Recorded

  • December 31, 2015
    1:45 PM
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This message was presented at the July C. twenty fifteen come from. Cold. Chosen in Louisville Kentucky. For other resources like this. Visit us online. At W W W G Y C Web dot org. Dear Lord. Thank you that. That you can be everywhere with us wherever we are from that you are with us in our homes you're with us as we gather here. That your Holy Spirit can be here present with us in this seminar and in all of the others and we just pray that you will guide and direct each of us. As we learn things that might help us to be able to better reach out to those around us. In Jesus name we pray. Amen. All right. On some of your chairs you might have seen a brochure some of them say. Total employment. Some of them say well then see in student. We are not going to talk about those much today I will talk about those some tomorrow. But you can always go to our booth. It's number one hundred thirteen. This morning. I mentioned that if we contacted one person a day in the Middle East and North Africa how long would it take to contact everybody. Four hundred fifty years. If you want to see that visually Illustrated. Go over to our booth. They have a big bucket of black beans. And they have one white bean in the black bean bucket. To represent the administering midst all the others but then they have some little bottles that show you illustrations of other countries too. So you might enjoy seeing that. And. Feel free to contact us or or. Ask more information about those programs. The title. For today's seminar. Miniskirts mothers and Muslims. Is not a riginal with me it came from an old book that's out of print now but you can still find a few copies on Amazon and I'll mention it again at the end. It's by a will. A Christian lady who is married to a Middle Easterner. Who spent her entire life in the Middle East. And she has lots of illustrations. About the cultural problems that we have to encounter in those countries. As we try to reach out to people things that we don't even understand would cause a problem. But the same things apply to us. When a Muslim moves in next door to us and we're trying to figure out how to relate to them. So I'm going to share. Not just from the book a number of different things. And then at the end all. I'll put those books. To books actually that I'll recommend. And I'll put them up on the screen. As we get to the end of. This morning I mention that in the Western countries. The United States Europe Australia. Seventy five percent of all the Hindus Buddhists and Muslims. Say they don't know a single Christian personally. Not even one. That they can call a friend. They might. Service in a restaurant or hotel or drive our taxi or whatever be a doctor in the hospital. But they don't know us as. As a friend. Why is that. Well. Part of it is that we're all really busy with our day to day activities in our circle of friends and we don't branch out of that very often. We pretty much stick with the group of friends that we're used to part of it is. We're afraid of them. Right what if they're terrorist. OK. We are all at least a little bit afraid. Times. But I think the biggest part is we just don't connect. We do the same things with our Muslim neighbor. That we do with our Christian neighbor. And we connect with the Christian neighbor but it doesn't connect with the Muslim neighbor why. Or we get in a taxi cab. And what works with one taxi driver doesn't seem to work with a Muslim taxi driver. Why. Why is it that we can't seem to connect. The one we don't connect with people. What does that do to our witness. You know. Mrs White says that Christ's method alone will bring true success. He mingled he meant needs he won their confidence. If we don't connect with people. We aren't going to have a chance to really influence and witness to them. Our way. We need to find out how to connect with people. Now what I what I tried to share with you here in one hour. Is not going to make you an expert on culture. Don't go out and think you know everything about cultures. I don't live there for several years and I still don't even begin to know all of the things. It's not going to make you an expert on Islam. But what I hope it does is to to get your curiosity. I hope it gets you excited about. Saying OK they're different from me but how are they different. What could I do. To connect with them. How can we understand our coworkers and neighbors. You know. There is a clash of cultures going on between the West and the east between Muslims and Christians in many different culture groups. But a huge clash of cultures today. And I want to start with one of the things that's very obvious. Whenever we talk about Muslim. You almost immediately have one thought in your mind. And it's probably not. This kind of picture that's here on this this building I took this picture in Turkey. I thought it was a good illustration of that clash there's a mosque and right next to it. A very modern picture. This. What you think of Usually when you think of Muslim as something like this right immediately. That flashes into our minds. You know a few years ago. I went into a restaurant in Egypt. Philip and Mindy are back with us. Living in Egypt I went into it they took me my first trip to Egypt many years ago. They took me it somebody took me to a T.G.I. Friday's. I said why. I'm in Egypt I want to go to an Egyptian restaurant don't take me to teach jive. T.G.I. Friday. But they did. And as we walked in the door. I was shocked because out on the street I saw many people like this. But as we walked in the door there was a very. Definitely an Egyptian young lady. But very western dressed very short tight skirt very very provocatively dressed grieving everybody as they came in the door and seating them. One of the people with me whispered. Out on the street. Should be arrested if she dressed like that. But in here it's OK because this is a Christian business. And I was ashamed. I said Is that what people in Cairo. Think of. When they think Christian. The when I lived in Cyprus. And I was often ashamed. South Cyprus is Christian or Cyprus is supposedly Muslim it's quite a quite a secular Islam. And for a while there's been a border it was a closed border because of the war many years ago. When we first moved there people couldn't go back and forth across it. We could go to the demilitarized zone and look across but that was all but gradually they opened the border. They Muslims from the north. Started coming to the South Cyprus. And you know what they saw when they came in the Christian part of Cyprus. They saw lots of advertisements and shop selling pork. They saw lots of advertisements for alcohol. They sell. Sol lots of big billboards with almost naked ladies selling cars. On the beaches. It's very European and there was lots of topless bathing on the beaches we didn't go to the beaches. We went. One time and decided never again were we going we went up in the mountains in the summer. We would go to the beaches in the winter when nobody else was there. But. But I was embarrassed for what the Muslims were seeing from the north. They came down and this was Christian and that's what they thought of. When they saw Christian. But even within Islam. Folks there are still more seats up here and scattered through. Come on in. Even within Islam dress is very different from country to country. It's more cultural than it is religious. And I want to show you a few pictures that I've snapped through the years. Sometimes I've just carried my camera down by my side and you know my little point and shoot and been pushing the button without looking at it. To see if I could catch a picture of somebody. Because it's not always. You can get in trouble. I have gotten in trouble for taking pictures sometimes but. Sometimes it's OK I've been learning through the years when it's OK and when I can ask permission. But this is these are some pictures of different dress in Yemen you will see many women dressed like this. And a couple little boys and you'll see many of the men wearing the same day years and cloaks in Egypt. You will often see people some fully covered some with the face open some with different colors some with all black. Very common to see both of those. Here's another lady in a pantsuit pain in the Egypt. Here's some Muslims on a little boat tour. It was more like a ferry boat in Kurdistan. This is a Muslim lady. Living in Kurdistan. And you can always tell a Muslim the way we technic in our minds we think of Muslims. Here is another Muslim lady in Kurdistan she did have a scarf on. This is a traditional. Curtis dress. This lady is now an administrate used to be a Muslim here some from Kuwait. Turkey. In Turkey it's almost impossible to tell who is Muslim and who is not. Some days they'll wear a scarf and some days they won't. All three of these are probably Muslim. But you won't know that. It's just that almost everybody there is. And again. Turkey. Here you've got two older ladies and the younger one they're all. They're all muslim most likely they're in Turkey. Again. Turkish people dress very differently. Just thought it. I would give you a little taste for their advertising but. But they're advertising for a phone system there in Turkey. Sudan they love the bright colors and not all just black. Gives you just a little view. Of of some of the different ways that people in different culture in these different countries will dress for many of them wearing a head scarf is a sign of devotion. But others where it is a status symbol. Some of them wear the scarf some days and not in others. Up until just a couple of years ago it was illegal to wear a head covering in Tunisia. Now it's. It's legal to wear it and you will see some wearing it and some not. But sometimes people will wear it one day and not wear it the next day. They have a lot of choice. In Upper Egypt. This is a. This is a picture of one of our churches in Upper Egypt. In Upper Egypt. Our Adventists. Are our churches divided with a wall down the middle. The women and girls sit on one side the men's On the other side. The speaker can see both sides but nobody else can see each other they come in separate doors. Are women wear head coverings in Upper Egypt. This isn't commanded by the government. They don't have to do that but they choose to because it's cultural. When our admin a slave. Come from Upper Egypt to Cairo they feel very uncomfortable. Because in Cairo. Min and women sit in the same side of the camp meeting ten. They don't sit on separate sides in Cairo many of the women had been a swim and Christian women don't cover their heads. And the women from the north feel very uncomfortable. You know. In the United States how many of you have been to that church the Washington Hampshire church. Did you notice the two doors. And inside. Back in our early history. The women sat on one side in the men's out on the other side it was part of life. When you went to a boarding. College. Even back. Many years ago. Guys sat on one side. Girls side on the other it was part of life. And it's been that way in the Middle East for a long time as well. Back in Mrs whites today most of the women wore a bonnet. At least. To church they did. Even. Even in Islam. There was a cultural practice. Long before Muhammad came long before Islam. Women veiled. Under the Assyrian law. The ancient Assyrians. Under Assyrian law. Low class women. Slaves and prostitutes. Were forbidden to wear a veil or cover their hair. It was against the law. Unless you were a high class woman it was a privilege. For them to be able to wear a veil or a head covering. If a lower class woman was caught wearing a veil or a head covering She was severely beaten in public. That was way before. Islam came around. In the early days of Islam. As the Muslims would conquer. An area. Those who would not convert. Were often denied the respectable public dress. And were forbidden to veil. So if you had been living in an area when Islam conquered many times they would say. Your women cannot veil. If you don't convert to Islam. It was a privilege. Some of the illustrations I'm sharing with you in the title of the program as I mentioned. To some of you at the beginning it's from this book. Miniskirts mothers and Muslims and I'll tell you at the end. How you can get that not everything in here is from that but some of these are today. Veiling isn't always the answer to fitting in if you were to come to our part of the world. You might wonder OK am I going to have to wear a scarf or a veil. Well not always. I can tell you if you go to Saudi Arabia. Yes. You're going to the women are going to have to wear a scarf. Probably not cover their face. But they're going to have to wear scarves. If you go to some other countries you're not going to have to. In fact one of our workers moved to Yemen. Number of years ago ten twelve years ago. When she moved to Yemen she decided she's an American woman. She decided that she was going. She was going to be respectful for their culture she wanted to fit in she wanted to be able to reach out to them. So she started wearing. At least the scar. And when I say veil. They refer to the veil sometimes meaning what covers your face but many times meaning the whole covering from head to toe. Sometimes they'll talk about in a bio. There's a number of different terms. But they will doesn't always mean just what covers your face. So she decided that she was going to to wear the head covering at least in the robe. And she thought that that would be a help. That it would help her fit in but instead she learned that it made her. Her Muslim neighbors. Very very angry. Because you see it first. They thought they could see her blue eyes. They could see her light colored skin. And they knew she wasn't Yemeni. They thought she must be a convert to Islam. And when they found out that she wasn't. Then they were angry they said you're being deceptive you're trying to trick us. So for her to fit in in Yemen what she had to do was to dress modestly. Sure a long tunic. But not the full robe. Shoe. She would sometimes wear a little covering on the back of her hair but she didn't wear the scarf or the veil. Then they knew immediately that she wasn't Muslim. But they could tell that she was trying to respect their culture. And that made them feel very good so we. We have to. We have to ask questions. You know you'll go to some countries like Saudi Arabia where women are not allowed to drive. Where they have to wear the head covering. Where in some countries a women just now in the last month. Have been allowed to hold some public offices in Saudi Arabia. But you'll go to other countries where many women hold high public offices. You go to countries where women are allowed to drive freely where they don't have to wear the head covering and. And so we have huge varieties there. If if you're coming to our part of the world. Or if a Muslim moves in next door to you. You're going to have to pray a lot. Watch what they do. And ask questions. You know. Ask them. And this is one way you could approach it if you're getting to know your neighbor and you asked them. What would offend them. They might not respond reply openly to you. They don't want to hurt you and I'll come to that in a few minutes. You might say to your neighbor. You know. How should I dress. You've invited me over to your house to eat and you're inviting some other people how should I dressed so I don't offend your guests. That way you're not saying how do I dress so I don't offend you. You're saying How do I dress so I don't offend your guests. And they can answer you and they will feel so appreciative that you like them enough that you want to not offend their guests and. So that might be appropriate way to find out. There is another book. That I'm going to show to you at the end it's called foreign to familiar. And. And I wanted to tell you read to you a part of a story that she uses to start out that book. I'll just give you the introduction of it first and then read you a few paragraphs. She and two friends were on a flight from Atlanta to New Mexico. Hates Us flight. Atlanta to New Mexico. They were going for a conference they all work together. She had an American friend. And she had a Lebanese friend sitting next to her in the airplane. OK. So this. This lady has grown up in the Middle East she lived in Israel she lived in many of the countries there. And so on one side of her she's got a lady who only lived in America on the other side she's got a Lebanese who has moved to America. The American. Turns to her and says Sarah. What was it like growing up in Israel. What was the culture like. Sara thought. Well maybe she's just trying to make conversation and doesn't really mean it. And she noticed that Ada. Her. Lebanese friend immediately turned away and started staring out the airplane window so she knew that Ada was uncomfortable with this discussion. But. Sarah the. Friend kept pressing Sarah. And finally Sarah took a deep breath and here I'm quoting now she said Well. I grew up in a variety of cultures. The Jewish and Arab cultures. Are vastly different. And the lady the American lady next to her said. How so. Well in Jewish culture you say what you think it's direct. And you know where you stand with people. I glance. She says I glanced at her to see if she was still with me she was so I continued. The Arab culture on the other hand is much more indirect. It's all about friendship. I'll come back to the other one in a few minutes. That one to be up there is an illustration she said it's all about friendship and politeness. If I was offered a cup of coffee. I would remember this isn't me this is not an administrator's OK but she says. If I was offered a cup of coffee in the Arab culture. I would say no thank you. The host would offer it to me again. And I would decline again with something like. No no don't bother yourself. They might offer a third time and I'd reply No no I really don't want any coffee Believe me I don't want any. And the hosts. Would would go ahead then and pour the coffee and serve it to her and she would drink it. Well her for her American friends said to her will Sarah. Then what. If you really don't want the coffee. What do you do. Oh she said there are idioms that you can use to say that you wouldn't for any reason refuse their hospitality. And at some point in the future you would gladly join them in drinking something but at the moment you really can't drink it. Now the Lebanese friend. Turned away from the window that where she had been staring uncomfortably out the window and she was very interested in the discussion. She said this is incredible. I didn't know that. And. And both Sarah and her other friend turned to aid of the Lebanese and said What do you mean. You didn't know that. Eva said. What Eva said. Yes. I've lived in America for a long time and I'm Lebanese. But I mean I didn't know that what you just described wasn't normal. I've been in the United States. Eight years and I did not realize that was done differently here that explains so much. I've been so lonely since moving here and now I know why. When people in the office ask me if I wanted to go to lunch. I would politely say no. Fully expecting them to ask me again. But they didn't. And they left without me and so I decided they must not really want me to go along. She said in my culture it would have been too forward to say yes the first time. Because of this I've had very few friends in America after all these years and now I finally know. Why. You know. Maybe some of you can identify with. Aid as. Lebanese culture. You know how many of you. How many of you would have reacted like eight as workmates. If a Muslim moves OK I would tricked you I'm sorry. I know some of you would have reacted like a duck but think about a Muslim who comes into your workplace. And she's there or he's there with you and mixing. If you asked him if he wanted to go to lunch with you and he said no. What would you do. Most of you would say OK. And you'd go to lunch without him. Right. You wouldn't stop to invite him again. Can you see how that simple cultural difference can affect your witness to a Muslim coworker or neighbor. If you can't become close trusted friends than the opportunity for a witness. Will be minimal at best. Some of you may know Eric Baumgartner. Teaches at Andrews University. When Eric first came to the United States as a young man many many many years ago. He says he almost starved to death his first few months in the United States. He was poor. He was young he was an immigrant student. Sometimes he would go to a friend's house. Hoping that the family would have something to eat and share with him. They would offer him something to eat. And starving to death he would say politely. Oh no thank you I'm fine. And they would put it back in the fridge and not offer him anything more and he said for two. For a couple of months he almost starved to death. To realize that in America. We don't say no if we really mean yes. But but in those cultures many times. You say no to be polite you say no several times. Now. The issue of food and drink is a hard one it's one of the hardest ones for me to deal with. I don't have good answers. Myself. At this point. You can talk to others and you'll find many different answers. But I want you to be aware of the problem and I want you to be earnestly praying for how do I reach out to my Muslim neighbor or if I go to work in one of those countries what am I going to do. How do I reach out when they offer me something to eat or drink. If you're invited to a home or business of your new Muslim neighbor let's say they moved in next door and. And you've be friended them across the fence and they invite you to your how their house. They almost certainly will offer you something to drink and eat and. Absolutely. For certain without question you will offend them. If you don't need it. No exceptions. You will offend them. So how do you deal with that. How do you say well I just ate. That's kind of an easy one if you just state and you feel like you have to you can eat again but. But what do you do if you aren't sure what's in the food or if you're a vegetarian or if they're offering you a really strong Turkish tea or. Or something else what do you do. You will offend them. If you don't take it. You know I've tried a variety of things in many different situations. And I can't say that any of them. Have worked exceptionally well. At least not to my human eyes maybe someday God will show me that something has worked. I know that I have deeply hurt people that I very much was wanting to reach out to you know. Sometimes I have just asked for a cup of hot water. I've said. Oh thank you. You know. Could I have a cup of hot water. And occasionally that's work. But sometimes. It hasn't. Why do you want just hot water I'm giving you this wonderful Turkish tea or. Or whatever it happens to be tea everywhere in the Middle East. Sometimes I've taken the cup and. Just pretended to sip a little bit and set it down and kept talking. But they noticed I hadn't drink. Drumkit. I was up in. Far Eastern Turkey up near Mount Terror rat and and. Visiting with a man who is a new ad minister he was a Muslim is now an Adventist. His family is not. He understood. But his wife was deeply offended. That the cup sat there and didn't get drunk and she asked him and later someone else in the group who understood. What her language. Translated for me and told me later that she had asked him. With tears in her eyes. What's wrong with the tea. Why aren't they drinking it. OK I don't know the right answer. You know of course the best thing is if I have a chance to tell them ahead of time. Especially And I'll talk more about this later if I can tell them through a third person. If I can say to a mutual friend. You know. I'm getting ready to go to their house. Would you tell them for me that that I don't drink. Caffeinated drinks or that I'm a vegetarian. That works much better than if I go directly to them they would go and they would say you know your new friend that you've invited over. Did you know that they're vegetarian and. You know they're going to want. Whatever it is that you're serving. Sometimes so. I will tell them ahead of time that that I don't eat shellfish because Muslims don't eat pork. But they don't know about the rest of the unclean meats like we do so they eat a lot of shellfish they eat camel. They definitely drink a lot of tea and coffee and those things. Sometimes what seems to work. It's not always possible but sometimes you can invite them first. If you're getting to know a neighbor or a coworker. Invite them to your house. Before they have a chance to invite you to theirs. Then you can say to them when they come you can apologize profusely and say you know I hope you won't be offended. I'm sorry I don't have any real tea I've just got some herbal tea and. I don't I don't drink. Real tea because it bothers my stomach and it's not really that. You know. Or you can tell them I'm sorry I don't have any meat what I've got is just vegetarian. And they will be watching and listening. They won't be offended that you don't have it but you're presenting it is though you hope they won't be offended. And then when they invite you. You can know that they will have heard you and they will be very careful about what they're serving you. But it's those impromptu ones. Those first impressions that seem to get me in trouble. Another point about food. When your new Muslim neighbor moves in next door. Their house or apartment will probably look just about like yours. They may have a car in the driveway and they probably will always be nicely dressed. And so you won't realize the financial challenge that they may be having at home. When they invite you over for a meal. After you've had some time of getting to know each other you. You may not realize how poor they are. And they may have scrounged. All the money they have left for the month. To buy enough food to give you a huge spread on the table and you look at all that and Middle Eastern food is wonderful and Middle Easterners all ways. Will pressure the. More more please what am I going to do with the rest of it I mean look at this huge pile. But you may not. And that's their culture they will be. Honestly sincerely seeming to pressure pressure you to be more. But you may not realize that the wife and the children aren't eating. Partly because it's cultural and partly because they want to make sure there's enough food for you. And when you're finished if you have given in and eaten every time they keep saying all here have some more and you eat and you eat and you eat. Way more than you should of and you've enjoyed it but you're thinking oh my I gotta go walk now. You may not realize that they may not have anything to eat for the next day or two until they get some more money because they have gone out. To give you everything that they could give you. And the food will be wonderful. In those situations it's often best. Just eat small amounts and make sure that you leave a major portion of what's there. Even if they're pressuring you just remember. That's the polite thing for them to do. To pressure you to eat more. It's OK for you to refuse after you've eaten some. You could always refused to eat more and it's hurts them if you don't if you refuse to take any the first time. But after you've eaten some. Then if you don't take more that's OK. I've often been to somebody who's home suddenly. Where they didn't expect me to come. And I've seen an adult. Whisper to a child. And the child slips out the back door in a few minutes later. Comes in with a bag from the grocery store with some crackers and some soda or something and I know right away what's happened. They didn't have any food in the house. That they felt they could feed to a foreigner. And they may not have even had any money to get in and the child probably stopped at an uncle or auntie's house on the way to the store and borrowed some money. To go to the store and buy this to bring in served to me. And so then if I say no. How are they going to feel. It's really a hard situation to be in. But it also reminds me of a situation that Jesus used as a parable. You remember the parable of. Of the friend that goes to his neighbor to borrow bread in the middle of the night. He didn't have anything so what did he do we want somebody to borrow it. That's very much part of the culture. They wouldn't hesitate to go to an uncle or an aunt or a neighbor and borrow something. You know. Personalities. In the Muslim world in the Arab world the Turkish world. I say Muslim world usually because it includes so much more than just Arabic. But. Personalities are different between individuals just like they are in America and all of our countries. So we have to be careful about making strong generalizations. Anything that I say here today. Will be different from one family to another family you've got to pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you you've got to talk to people and watch and. And do the best you can but God's going to have to guide you to do. And to to do the right thing. But there are some generalizations that might be able to help us a little bit. As we look at different cultures. One of those. Is described as hot climate. Or cold climate cultures. Some of you have heard that term before. That doesn't totally have to do with the actual temperature of the country. But it does sort of follow those lines. Those from hot climate cultures are usually relationship oriented. Those from cold climate cultures. Are usually task oriented. What are most of us. Oh we're some relational many of us are quite task oriented especially when we go to compare ourselves with another culture and we get into their country and realize how much different we are in America. The southern part of the United States is much more relationship oriented than the northern part of the Union. United States as a whole Again you can't use a generalization completely and. If you go to Alaska. Alaska is quite cold. But it's much more relationship oriented much more like the hot climate culture so there are some differences there. In hot climate cultures. People often expect shou to come over without being invited. OK that's hard for me. I can remember going a couple of years. And wondering why nobody had invited me to come over. They went those couple of years wondering why doesn't the ever come over. OK we're used to inviting somebody we set up a time we you know we plan it. But they are used to just showing up what that means is that you're waiting for an invitation because you don't want to embarrass them. And they're wondering why you're not coming you must not like them because you're not coming over to see them. But you know our question always is then. What if it's not a convenient time for them what if I show up at their door and that's just not a good time. Well don't worry about that in there in those. Relationship oriented cultures. They will never give up time with people. In order to satisfy their own personal feelings and desires. They won't be upset. If you just show up. The hard part will come. OK. Let's say a Muslim neighbor moved in next to you. The hard part is not that you can make yourself to show up at their door sometime. See what happens. The hard part will come when they show up at your door. And it wasn't a convenient time for you. You know you were just getting ready to do this this this and this and. And then you were going to run here and there and. And they show up at the door. I can tell you that if you stand at the door and smile and make small talk for a minute or two and then say. Thank you we'll have to get together sometime and shut the door. You will probably never see them again. They will think that you are so crude. So sewed uncourteous that you don't like them at all. And they'll probably never give you an invitation and never come over. Quoting from one of these books here is foreign to familiar. It says one of the shocks a foreigner encounters the moment he arrives in some cold climate cultures. Is that he needs money to survive. OK we're cold climate culture. Think of a refugee coming from Syria or somewhere else. Coming here to America. One of the things that shocks them. Is that they need money to survive. Even the carts in the airport cost money. Get over our way they don't. They're all free the carts in the airport you take them. We come here to America the luggage carts. You know unless you're in the international terminal everything is. Cost money. Many travelers from hot climate cultures. If they have have limited funds have saved sacrifice to receive gifts from family and friends. And bought their airplane tickets. Once they're on the plane they assume that they are now guests. Food is provided to them on the airplane and that reinforces their feeling that they will be cared for in their host country. But when they land. Nobody's there to care for them. OK That goes even further. Let's let's think about the one that arrives in your neighborhood neighborhood. Somebody moves in next door to you. Are you planning to take care of them. When they move in you know if you offer to take them to the mall. Do you realize that you're also offering to feed them when you take them to the mall. Let's say you invite them to go out to eat with you. You say let's all go to the mall to eat. And they say yah sure let's go. Maybe your coworker at work and you say you say let's go and they say sure let's go. Did you know that in their mind you've committed yourself to pay for their meal they're planning to they might not even have any money. If they invite you. They would do the same thing they would plan to pay for your me alone no you can't pay for it. They invited you they think they need to. So be careful if a coworker comes to work with you he may be dressed nicely you may he may drive a car. You may think everything is fine. But he may have borrowed and scraped every last dollar that he could find. And he may not have the money to buy something at Taco Bell at the mall. And when you go and buy something to eat. And then he stands there wondering what to do because he doesn't have any money to pay for it and now he's horribly embarrassed. So if you invite somebody. Be prepared to pay for it is well maybe your welcome basket. Should include not just some fruit. And a book or something but maybe you ought to put a little envelope with twenty five dollars or something in there. It might be a real blessing to a family who has suddenly realized. They didn't know they had to have a shovel to shovel snow. They never thought about having snow in Michigan where they just moved in and now they don't have any money to buy a shovel and what are they going to do. Or are maybe you've noticed that your middle eastern neighbor. His lawn seems to look at a terrible mess all the time. Maybe it's not because he's on cultured uncivilized. Maybe it's because growing up in a part of the world where you only have lawns if you water everything. Maybe he doesn't know that he's going to have to buy a lawn mower. And mow the lawn when he gets there and now he doesn't have any money to buy a lawn more and so he's embarrassed because everything looks so shabby but. But he doesn't know what to do about it. Maybe he needs someone to come and offer to help him find a lawn mower and then pay for it. I want to share with you. Two incidents from this book miniskirts mothers and Muslims Christine. Milou he shares to ensure incidents that. Relate how this principle works. A little differently. Let me back up first I missed one thing. If. If you have. If somebody has come to your house. And you've been polite and you've invited them in and they've stayed for an hour or two and you've tried not to keep looking at your watch. When they leave. You better say the right thing or they're going to feel hurt. What you probably need to say even if they've been there two hours and you've been thinking of the whole list of things you've got to do. But you've been trying to be pleasant you've been making your. Your cold climate culture. Go down and you've been saying look I'm just going to be with the people and enjoy them. But when they leave. You better say to them. This visit didn't count as a as a real visit. We didn't have time to enjoy each other's company enough. You really need to come back again when we can spend longer together. It's been two hours. You're frantic. But you still better say to them this wasn't a real visit I mean it was so short you mean you have to go now. Come back again when we can really spend good time together. Let me share with you two incidents from Christine and her husband. Experienced remember she was an American lady. She married. An Arab man and they lived in many different Arab countries. She said in Cairo we invited the family to dinner. And they didn't come. The next time we saw them. My husband made a great fuss about how much we had work to cook and prepare and. How put out we were that they hadn't shown up I mean he just went on and on. I was aghast thinking that he was making them feel very guilty. I tried to remedy this by telling them. Oh it wasn't such a big deal that they hadn't come. Meanwhile he was kicking me under the table. And loudly talking over my explanation. Later he confronted me. Later I confronted him with exaggerating. He said No No Christine. I was honoring them. By making them feel that we had made a big effort and were disappointed that they hadn't come. My ex. Christine's explanations that it didn't Manor. Matter. Were dishonoring them. By implying that it really hadn't been a big deal. So the same thing happened reverse in America. American family. Got upset. When her husband started going on and on about how terrible they were for not showing up when he had invited them. They they thought he was embarrassing them. And she had to intervene and explain that. It was his culture and he was trying to honor them by telling them how much we had wanted them to come. So it can be quite different in different places. Can you see how this cultural thing can really cause complications. In your attempt to witness. Even to a neighbor who's moved into your community. They're thinking one thing. And you're thinking something totally different. You know. In most Arab. Cultures. It's polite to refuse anything and everything the first time. I mentioned that before in the story. But Arab culture revolves around gift giving and receiving gifts and favors. Now. Sometimes. This comes very close to being hard to tell the difference between bribery and gift giving OK I. It's an issue we deal with all the time in our office I'm not talking about the bribery end of things. Trying to get somebody to do something for you. But gift giving is a part of their culture. There are mental bank accounts that go back generations. Not just the last few days they go back generations. If somebody in the Middle East needs something done. They wouldn't hesitate to go to someone that their grandfather had be friended and ask them to repay the favor. That bank account is there. When you. When you go to someone's house. You should always take a gift. I forget that. All the time. But when I'm with. Middle Eastern friends. They always will stop and take a gift when they go to somebody's house. I was with one man in northern Iraq. He said. Oh we were going to see these two families. Just a minute we got to stop at the fruit stand and he bought three big watermelons. So that he could take a watermelon to each of them as he went. Always need to take a gift. And if they give you a gift. Don't return the dish. One. One young couple had moved into a building in the people above them or trying to be friend them their Middle Eastern neighbors and they were giving them lots and lots of Iranian food. And they kept sending the dish back up empty and wondered why their relationship wasn't growing. If you send back the dish make sure you put some candy or fruit or a scarf or something in it. When you give it back to them. And remember that when you receive a gift from them. You are indebted to them. They can come then and ask you for help with something else in the future. Your family is indebted to them forever. If you've taken a gift from them in. And the same when you give them a gift. They feel indebted to you and they want to do something to help and. And they just keep track of those. Those mental bank accounts. Be really careful. In an Arab home. About admiring something. If if you say oh my what a beautiful picture what a beautiful scarf or whatever they will almost certainly give it to you and you'll have a hard time. Refusing it. You have to be careful because that's their culture if you had Myra. They're going to want to give it to you and be careful what kinds of gifts you're giving. Oh my we so much need the Holy Spirit to guide us in these encounters because we just don't know what to do. You know. It would be ideal if I could say that we that we could fill the Middle East and North Africa. With admin A Smith Elise Turner's a North Africans who understand the culture in the language. But we can't so we bring in foreigners. Or you have a foreigner move in next to you and we have to have the Holy Spirit guide us because we don't know what to do. I can tell you though don't be too worried. If you love somebody. That love shows through. And they will forgive the mistakes that you made so don't be so terribly paranoid. I'm just trying to give you a few hints. Mainly. I'm trying to help you catch an interest in learning about their culture. If there is a Middle Eastern restaurant down the road. I want you to find out what country they come from. It may be Jordan it may be Pakistan and maybe somewhere else. And then start learning about it ask him about some things talk to them about some things that are happening. I want you to get an interest in their culture. Let's see this the. Back to the issue of gift giving. Be careful. Of the gift you give. It might have meaning to you. But it might be offensive. To them. And that's a difficult one. There was a Tunisian girl. A to metion. Boy that married. A German girl. Quite different cultures. She was given a very expensive family heirloom as a gift. When. When they had the wedding in Tunisia. Then they moved back to Germany. They begin their life there this was a number of years ago. The Berlin Wall fell. While they were back in Germany. And to her that was such a powerful symbol of what life had been for her growing up. That she was thrilled to be able to get a few pieces of the Berlin Wall. And send them to some different family members as gifts. She sent one to her father in long to Nisha. To her this was a priceless piece of history. But when he received it he was so angry he had a heart attack and died. Because to him. A piece of rock. Was like what you throw at the devil. When you go on high. In America. It was a horrid thing. To receive as a gift. And it caused him to have the heart attack and die. So make sure your gifts. Have value in their eyes. Not just in yours. Now this next one might be hard for some of you to grasp. And for others of you you will think it's just normal. But. But in most of the Arab world Christian or Muslim words. OK We're very careful about words are only. But in most of the Arab world words are to help create an atmosphere. Not necessarily to convey a detailed and accurate message. Words are to help create an atmosphere. Not necessarily to create a detailed and accurate message. OK let's use some illustrations. If you asked your friend in Holland. About your new haircut. The answer in Holland that you might get could be well. It makes your face look fat. And if you responded to them and said Well. That hurts my feelings. The person would answer. What do feelings have to do with it. You asked my opinion. This isn't about you. It's about your hair. Can you see what might happen. If a person who lives in Holland. Has a Syrian refugee or a person from Holland in the United States has a Syrian refugee move in next to them. Their short seemingly. Curt answers. Would deeply hurt and offend that Syrian refugee. It wouldn't mean to. But. But the two cultures. Are not mixing it all. I'll never forget an experience I had in Cyprus. And the bill was an older gentleman these Egyptian a bill months were. I don't know if you've met him or not but you know not. It's not ren from the Heliopolis church or her husband. He was. He was Egypt. She was a rocky. He was our translator he did all our. Translating into Arabic and extremely dedicated loving administration extremely conservative. He was on the ultra conservative side of everything he was so careful about everything that he didn't said. Not just in his translating. But one day I came into the office and he was fearless. His brother in law had just called his wife. From Iraq. And said to her not her in. Our father just died. And the bill. Was furious at him. I was shocked. As he went on. And on and on. And I finally said to him. In the bill. What else could he do. He couldn't come here to tell or. What could he do but color and tell her that her father had died. And. And the bill turned to me and he said Well. Well. Well he should have called to day and said that her father is sick. Then he should have called to morrow and said he's getting worse. And then he should have called the next day and said he died. And I said put in a bill. That wouldn't be honest. And with huge puzzle guy. In the bill this extremely conservative dedicated Adventist said to me. Honest. This isn't I mean do with being honest. This is about being kind and merciful. I share I didn't understand it. But I've shared it with a number of my other Middle Eastern friends and. Without exception. Every single one of them. Has said the same thing they've said yes. The bill is right in their minds. If it wasn't possible to be both kind and honest. Then it was more important to be kind. They aren't talking about being dishonest in their minds they're talking about delaying. Telling the truth. Give them some time to process it. They're feeling. They would tell or eventually they just don't like the idea of telling her bluntly and right away. Well lots of challenge for us isn't it. We relate to things differently than they do and. If you're Muslim neighbor. And you are having a discussion. Those concepts are going to create a clash at times. For another illustration. In Indonesia. Or in Lebanon I've seen the same thing happened in Lebanon. See I saw Chan min in here few minutes ago I don't know if he's still here. Brian is here right. Brian where were you. Brian Manley is over at our booth. In fact stand up bra I'm sorry to embarrass you. Brian is our coordinator for tent makers while dancing and students and beyond walls and a number of other things that we have. He's over at the booth. He lives there in Lebanon he's from Michigan and on and off you're from Michigan I don't know where you're from. But you grew up in Kenya right. So who knows where you're from. But anyway in Lebanon. And in Indonesia this pictures from Indonesia. If you ask. If you asked somebody in the community if you can have a ride with them. To Town. They might answer something like this. Oh I'd love to give you a ride. I'm just not sure how much space we'll have yet but. Maybe we can squeeze you in there communication is very indirect usually. They aren't just trying to keep good feelings they're also wanting to make sure that they don't impose their will on you. They want to make sure they treat you warmly and friendly. And so they don't want to say no. But if they answered that to you. If they said you know maybe we can squeeze you in. What did they really say did they say yes or no. In those cultures they said no. To us we might show up. A few minutes later. Thinking they might be able to squeeze us in. But they knew that they are that their little car or motorcycle or whatever it happened to be was already over maxed and there was no additional room. They just couldn't bear to say no to you so they said. Maybe we could squeeze you in. You know. In most of our countries in the in Manama if you asked somebody a direct question. You will almost always get a yes answer. If you say something direct to them asked them. For instance. If you try to get directions to the post office in Turkey. I don't know Brian Mindy Philip or any of you if you've done this or not. But in Turkey. If you try to get directions to the post office. You will always get detailed instructions. And you may happily follow those instructions only to find out there is no post office where they were sending you. Now it isn't that they were trying to mislead you or mistreat you. It's just they couldn't bear to say. I don't know. To a foreigner. So they gave you directions. To some place. And hope that somebody there. Could direct you to the post office. Let's see. OK Let me give you another one. Another illustration. If you want to know if your room mate. OK Some of you might be a Walden C N STUDENT. And you want to know if your roommate is bothered by your music. You can't just say to them. Is my music bothering you. They will always say. No no no that doesn't mean that it's not bothering them that's just what they're going to say. If you ask a middle eastern neighbor. If it's OK if you park a saw a Middle Easterner moves into your community. And you're getting ready to hose down your driveway and clean it off and you see that. He has some room. If you ask him if you can move your car over to his driveway. What will he respond. He will respond sure. Even if he knows that in ten minutes he's got five car loads of people coming to see him and. He doesn't know where he's going to put them he can't bear to say no to you. Let me see I knew I was going to run out of time. We're supposed to quit it to forty five. Right. That's three more minutes. And I'm not going to get through it all. Let me ask you. I know that we have another topic scheduled for next session. Would you be OK if I started this again at three o'clock and continued on with it and then just summarize the other topic. OK. I think we'd better stop here and take a break. And at three o'clock. We'll start again in fact if you know let's let's do it three o'clock like it's scheduled to come back at three o'clock and we'll continue on with a few more. Illustrations before we go to the next set. Section. Thank you. Let's have a prayer before you go. There lard. Thank you that you are always there your Holy Spirit is guiding us and helping us we want to be able to connect with the people around us. But there's so much we don't know. And what we say might hurt them even though we don't mean for it to please help us to do and say the right man. This message was recorded at the Jew I see two thousand and fifteen. Conference called. Chosen. Faith for in Louisville Kentucky. Jew I see. The supporting Ministry of a Seventh Day Adventist Church. Seeks to inspire young people to be Bible based. Christ centered and soul winning Christians. To download or purchase other resources like this. Visit us online. At W W W G Y C Web dot.

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