Sometimes I forget that I am in a third world country. It is easy to have days where you forget between our home being behind a fifteen foot wall, internet access, skype meetings, and social media. Even being driven around, at times I get caught up in what the kids are doing inside the vehicle, or talking and laughing with others. But then I take a walk, and I am completely brought back to reality. The sights, the smells (mostly burning), and the sounds. Seeing what is considered, in America, as dilapidated buildings. Hearing car horns honking (it is a courtesy here to let pedestrians know you are driving near them), and not being able to comprehend most of what anyone says when we walk by. I tend to just shut down, stop looking around and not look anyone in the eye. But I realized this is not because of where I am, but where I come from. We are taught that if you walk in downtown Portland not to make eye contact with anyone, don’t speak to anyone, and keep to yourself. This is the opposite of loving our neighbor and being a light to the world. As Robin and I grabbed a taxi to go pick up dinner, and the taxi (a compact car type) already had two adults in it, my tendency is to not even look at anyone. However as I realized my reaction, and we pulled over to drop them off, I looked back to see an older couple who eagerly waved goodbye and smiled sincerely. In America, if anyone was even willing to share a taxi they almost certainly would not be happy about it. There are areas that are best to stay away from, usually noted by Robin as we walk by, like this afternoon’s “Be careful around here, that is a bar”. Helpful, but alarming as you walk by. At one point Robin asked a police officer if everything was okay with a guy we could hear screaming around the block, to which the reason of drunkenness was given. There are reminders all around of dangerous possibilities, but I need to not shut myself off from the people around me as my own delusional protection. There is a difference between wisely cautious and cowardly doubt.
“Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-33