Competition Transcending Culture!
Bonswa! I hope this post finds you loving life and living grand adventures wherever you may be. It has been too long since my last post and I apologize for the delay. We have been extremely busy down here over the last few weeks. I promise to post often over the next week in order to catch you up on everything that has occurred recently.
Last week I was privileged to spend 7 days with a team from Frazer United Methodist Church that came down to work in the deaf community and engage in fellowship with the great people there. I have other stories from the week but I first wanted to write about one of the coolest instances of transcending cultural barriers that I have ever experienced.
The story begins when Sid Ogden, a team member who was experiencing back problems grabbed a rafter of a temporary shelter in order to stretch out his back. A leader from the deaf community immediately asked, “how many can you do?” Thus began what we will affectionately call “Man-FEST, 2011” in which every young man within the vicinity had to test their strength against one another in friendly competition.
Pull-ups quickly turned into push-ups and push-ups quickly turned into a string of arm wrestling competitions. SO COOL! The highlight for me was in the middle of an arm wrestling match in which a deaf Haitian man was arm wrestling one of our American team members. I look over to find that Mackenson (one of the major leaders of the deaf community) was repeatedly giving the sign for “Haiti.” I quickly realized that this was a chant for “HAITI” “HAITI”. Upon the realization of a deaf chant for his country I immediately started the sign for “AMERICA” effectively chanting “USA, USA” with our other team members – what an awesome and unbelievable moment of coming together over physical competition!! It is worth mentioning that the 2 male team members involved in the competitions did not know more than a few basic signs – Everyone was laughing hysterically at every point in disbelief at how we came together and built relationships over something as simple as pull-ups, push-ups and arm wrestling. Smiles and laughter could be found all around us. We did not need language or any similar upbringing to enjoy our time together. All along in this journey and on this blog I have been reflecting on what it means to share life with the people of Haiti. It is great to continue sharing fun times together as we also work very hard alongside one another. To me, that is what sharing life looks like – we can always work hard for each other but the most important aspect of life is simply spending time together and sharing stories and experiences.
Words cannot even describe the joy it was to witness people who had a huge language and cultural barrier begin to emphatically high-five and encourage one another – just another reminder that friendship and encouragement of one another will never be stopped by cultural or linguistic boundaries!!! AMEN and AMEN!
You will find with this post some pictures of our endeavors. My favorite might have been the start of the trash talking in which you will see me in the corner giving the sign for “weak” as Mackenson is kicking my butt in pull-ups. . . ha – what a blast!!
wishing you all the continued experience of the abundant grace and peace of our Reigning King!!