Terry told me that my interpreters were here and that I should go outside and meet them. She told me earlier that I should be careful not to give them a hardy American handshake as their culture considers that flirtatious. We practiced shaking hands where you hardly touch at all. But - that was earlier and by the time I went out to meet them I totally forgot…
I was a bit taken aback - to put it lightly - when I went out the back door and rounded the corner to behold three tall Masai warriors in their full red capes, knives, beads and chained calves. So of course I went right up and gave them all hardy handshakes. ARRGH!!! Later when I realized I’d blown it Terry said it’s okay, they know I’m a foreigner.
So I met Joseph, Daniel and Jacob and explained how it would work to interpret for puppets. I’m not sure that they really understood what I was talking about.
Terry explained that when I meet children I should not shake their hands because in their culture that’s disrespectful. The children will approach you with their head down and you’re supposed to lay your hand on their head. This is exactly what happened but again, the first thing I did to the first child is stick my hand out and give him a nice American squeeze. He looked surprised and that’s when I remembered. After that I got it. It was amazing how they would come to me and bow their head then look up and smile.
By the time we went to the little church building there were already 30 children gathered singing Masai Christian songs with a very cool Masai drum beat going. Wow! The Masai children we discovered are really friendly. They are very poor by American standards. Many of them had torn, stained clothing on and were totally unaware of it.
McKenna and I got our little puppet stage assembled and then did a puppet show and sang. But then about 80 school children came in and so Pastor Shane asked us to do our entire program again, which we gladly did. Our interpreters did a really good job. They were interpreting our English into Masai, and in the back of the room Terry was interpreting into Swahili for the Masai folks who speak Swahili.
Our message was well received. We were making the point that based on Masai law which may require that a murder pay a fine of 5,000 cows, God’s law is so much higher that even if they had 5,000,000 cows, they could never pay it and since they can’t pay their penalty for breaking God’s holy Law, they have to be separated - forever unless someone COULD pay their fine. This person of course is Jesus. A number of Masai children indicated a desire to follow Jesus and tomorrow we’ll talk about how following Jesus is to follow the God of love.
After the Saturday meeting, we go to witness 5:00 o’clock Masai traffic: the herds are coming home for the night! To our left in a steady stream marched hundreds of cows, goats and sheep with gentle clanking bells and waving shepherds in red capes. The pungent fragrance of animals filled our nostrils and I was really surprised to see such order. “How do they keep their herds together?” I asked.
Terry explained, “Oh the animals all know each other and their shepherd. If you put a cow from one herd with a strange herd, it’ll cry all night long.” It makes me think of when Jesus said, “I know My sheep and My sheep know Me…” Now I understand that a little better.
It’s amazing to me how radically different our time has been in each different venue. This is certainly the most amazing time in my life. McKenna has still been battling a cough and has done so great. We’ve learned so much and have only gotten half way through our trip. Tomorrow we’ll be leading the Masai children’s Sunday School and then singing and doing a short puppet show for the adults…