Travels, Talks, and Traditional Music

Just as the cold and snow was beginning to fall over much of the country, we set out to fit in one last outreach trip before taking a break from traveling for the winter. We visited a major city in the southeast of the country, an area known for its incredibly strong hospitality culture. With hospitality comes sitting over cups of tea and with those conversations comes opportunities to share the good news with people in natural ways. While there was all the usual hospitality and opportunities to sit and talk, there was a hesitancy to talk about deeper things which we don’t usually find. The city has suffered from various political movements, most recently in 2015, resulting in weeks of bombings and gun fights in the streets. This conflict led to the razing of a huge swath of the old city where we spent most of our time. While many of the scars have been covered up, there are still some spots where walls are pock-marked with bullet holes. In our country, religion is closely tied to politics, national identity, and race, consequently many were justifiably hesitant to talk about religion with strangers like us. Despite the general nervousness on the subject, we did manage to have a couple of good conversations and leave books and Bibles with open people. One night while sitting in a coffee house where there was live traditional music, a young man got up and requested a song, dedicating it to his wife as it was their first anniversary. At that moment I felt strongly that I should pay his bill and so sneakily I attempted to pay for it without him noticing. I almost got away, but he managed to catch me and thanked me. The next day we were visiting a Dengbej house, a place set up for traditional story tellers who tell modern and historical stories by singing them in Kurdish (if you’re interested in hearing it, search “dengbej” on YouTube). While we were sitting listening, the same guy whose bill I had paid the night before came in. As the Dengbej was still singing we couldn’t talk just then but nodded at each other from across the room. Later we went outside, had a brief chance to speak, and exchanged information. He told me he was from another city but came because he loved Dengbej. A couple days later I remembered there was a Gospel of John sung as a Dengbej and sent it to him (Google “Stranen Piroz” if you’d like to hear the Gospel of John sung in Kurdish). While we haven’t been able to talk in too much depth so far, I believe there must be a reason I felt the sudden need to pay his bill and happened to meet him again the next day in a city of well over a million. While I don’t know what the Lord has planned, I trust and pray that the Lord will use this to stir his heart and draw him to Himself.

From a worker in Central Asia

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