The town center consisted of various “bars” (several circles of men around pots of brew sipping from long straws), a few women with some tomatoes and various other staples, and a one room clinic & pharmacy. I had come with Bena and her youth drama group; they were going to do a drama on HIV/AIDS. It was supposed to start at two, but Bena told me we didn’t need to leave until at least 3 since the drama team would not arrive till late. We arrived around 3:30pm and didn’t see any of the youth yet. There was a charismatic catholic mass going on at the place where we were going to meet the youth. We decided to join in the mass until the youth arrived; at least it was something to do. The room was filled with ladies on the left and men on the right, ladies on the floor men on the benches. There were some 30 women and maybe 8 men.Of the 30 women I counted at least 5 pregnant ones and there were many who already had young children attached to them. The singing was beautiful; I love just the voices with the djmebe drum. The “priest” had them read about the story of Martha and Mary on the day that Jesus visited their house. His teaching was opposite of what I’ve always been taught. After a while we went outside to look again for the youth, finally we saw some of them approaching from the distance, they had walked a long way, some more than an hour. By the time we had the whole group assembled it was about 4:30, by the time we made it to the town center and had everything set up it was about 5pm. Only three hours late. It didn’t matter much anyway, except that those who were drinking were more drunk. Overall the drama went ok, many people watched it, from babies to old men. I found it interesting the parts they found funny; to me often it was sad because it would be something bad that was so true to their culture.
I’ve found that even though there are many cultural differences between here and America, sin is sin, and causes pain and despair no matter the culture; substance abuse, greed/jealousy, sexual immorality, just to name a few. It broke my heart to see so many young fully capable men living hopelessly, stuck in the grip of alcoholism and poverty. Please pray for our team; that more men would join this team to reach out to the young men here. There are so many different organizations around town reaching out to orphans and widows, but so few to the men. They need discipleship and mentoring from men committed to following Jesus. They need to know that there is hope even when it seems like there is no hope. They need to know that Jesus can help them overcome.