Thursday, July 30, 2009

Georgian lessons

Hey there, folks,
I'm currently sitting in the very nice offices of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia, just outside of northwest Tbilisi. I am more or less on Georgian time, but not "Georgian time" as I wake up very early compared to most Georgians in the city.

After arriving in the middle of the night on Wednesday, I woke up to a find myself at the foot of a huge mountain. The lack of hot water and the truly open door policy of Georgia in some ways reminds me of Kentucky, the home of my Leonard grandmother. Within 2 minutes of seeing an elderly woman outside my door, she waved to me to table filled with breakfast, set for one. I can't tell you how touching that was (and remains). We couldn't really speak to one another - I don't know Georgian and she doesn't know English. I didn't know that she was the mother of the Archbishop, and I don't think she knew who I was, really. But it didn't matter to her - she invited me into her home to eat. Embarrassed, I ran to get some blackberry jam I made and brought as a gift, small though it was. When she saw what it was and tasted it, she went and opened her own can of fruit preserves, which she spread on local bread (puri) and handed to me. We pointed at the food, gestured, spoke the few names I knew of her family (see, I was starting to catch on!) and I used my baby-like Russian and Georgian to "explain" what I was doing in Georgia. Mostly, we just laughed and smiled and ate (though it took some doing to get her to stop worrying about me and eat some herself).

Despite the language barrier, we were able to communicate through sharing, through actions. This relates to what should be a familiar message of community fellowship and reaching out to people we hardly know. It makes me think that sometimes, words get in the way. People who know me well know that I ask a lot of questions and am all for talking - but perhaps I should concentrate on more "engaged doing."

Just some thoughts from a member in Georgia!


1 comment:

Joann said...

Hi Jeremy,
It is wonderful to hear how a smile is friendship anywhere. Blessings as you travel and know we pray for you during your journey. Joann