Wednesday, September 22, 2004

“But, America will help, right?” I stood looking at Sonya, wondering what to say. We were talking about the recent presidential elections. The man who has most likely won (all of the votes have not been counted) is a Muslim, just like the current president. There were rumors that if elected, he would enforce Muslim laws.

In my fifth grade class, we were discussing proper nouns when the election came up. Most of the students in the class are Christians, at least in name. I asked them what they would do if Susilo wanted everyone to become Muslim. “I would go to Singapore.” “I would leave.” “I would move to America.”

These comments were racing through my mind as I talked to Sonya, who hasn’t the means to leave if she wanted to. I asked her what would happen if Susilo enforced the Muslim laws. She told me that this province, which is mostly Christian, would become an independent nation. She said that America and Australia would help them because they (this province) are Christians. “America will come and kill the Muslims before the Muslims kill us. We are bigger than Iraq, and they help them.”

I wanted to say, “Iraq has oil. Most Americans don’t know where North Sulawesi is. There are many places in the world where horrible things are happening and America is doing very little to stop it. A couple of years ago when the Muslims and Christians were fighting in the Mouluccu’s there was no American intervention.”

Instead, I looked unsure and searched for an answer. That prompted, “America will help right? We are Christian, they will help us, right?”

I looked at the woman who had just told me about her son getting beat up at school. I wanted desperately to give her hope. Her life here is hard. She looks up to our great nation as a source of hope. If things get too bad here then America will step in and help. Right? How do you answer this?

8 comments:

Joy said...

Well, what *did* you say?
It may be difficult for someone outside of America to understand how very divided Americans are about intervention in Iraq (or about most things, actually). It's not a solidarity movement at all.
I'll keep praying that the right words will come when you need them most. Words of comfort, solace, hope, cheer, and truth.

Viator said...

I seize the most inadequately brief of moments between loading Waterdeep and Switchfoot tracks into the station hard drive to echo Chess-- I mean Joy's sentiments.

Onward toils the camPAIN. My high school math teacher, a nutty old Cajun who until recently was a yellow dog democrat, put it well: "Benje, have you ever seen such a worthless Republican and Democrat runnin' 'gainst each other at the same time? 'Tween the two of 'em they haven't got 'nough weight to pull 'em to the bottom of a river if ya' threw 'em in in a old gunny sack. 'Course . . . I'd sure be willin' to give it a try."

And yet for all of that, and for all that hangs in the balance for this election, it seems a less dire thing to live under an Evangelical than a Muslim theocracy.

Adam said...

Wow, I had forgotten that that becoming a Muslim theocracy was even a threat there. Oh man... Before, the Indonesian jihad received little to no press at all. I would hope we would step in. Wow...

How is Sonya? Do you know if she received the letter that Kara and I sent her a few years ago? How is Joshua?

-adam

Anonymous said...

This is a hard one.
I have no real advice.
I can only say that this would be the ultimate test of faith.
In the book The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, there an part about Corrie's childhood. I don't remember all of it but there was something that Corrie could not deal with or understand. Her mother explained that when the time was right God would give her what she needed just like Corrie's fathter gave her train ticket to her right before she boarded the train. Her father didn't give her the ticket the day before--when she might loose it...but right when she needed it. So too, our Heavenly Father will provide for us.

M. Lumpkin said...

Ok, anon (perhaps Mary mother of Josh and Melody)
Nice story, but I'm not sure what you mean by it. Who will get what they need right before they need it? Melody getting the words for an answer? Christians in North Sulawesi getting help from America? Our helper getting help in understanding at some point in the future when America doesn't sweep in and "help" like they did in Iraq?

Matt

Anonymous said...

It's me again, Matt The point is on things we don't know and we can't understand or controll we have to have faith that our Father will take care of us.
I wouldn't put my hope or faith in help from any political power.
Corrie Ten Boom lived though concentration camps in WWII.
And no, I don't know what to tell Sonya.
But you can tell her we are praying for all of you!
And I am ready for you to come home and bring Sonya with you! But I don't think that will happen, either.

Anonymous said...

that story makes me cringe. thank you for posting it. i don't know how to answer the question. if you find out how, please tell me. with lots of love and prayers, ange

Joy said...

An aside not at all related to this post:

Melody,

Sorry for the unwanted attention! I remember that Mintha and I always got noticed in Japan, and that the way we were noticed, um, changed as we got older. I distinctly remember being in the 5th grade (10 years old) and having an old man come up to me and make repeated obscene gestures about my breasts. Yow!

Maybe you could black out your teeth, or shave your head, or keep your eyes crossed.