Wednesday, 1 March 2006

Log Camp

Finally reporting on the camp: it went well, thanks to God.

Chawkat taught well about Islam, Muslims, relations with it/them and evangelism. The students engaged with him and the topic. They discussed, they prayed, they bought his books, they disputed contraversial points, they asked good questions, they saught to apply the teaching and those among them of African origin argued African style (all talking at once without listening) until I gave up trying to participate in the discussion. [I'm not being racist, ok? Rather exasperated I suggested to them that they weren't listening to each other and that I couldn't hear what they were saying because as a non-mother tongue French speaker I couldn't pick it up when they were all talking simultaneously: Oh no, they assured me, it wasn't my linguistic ability; it's cultural. I gave up.]

The singing & prayer sessions (someone tell me a good name for these eh?) which I co-led with an Ichtus staff worker seemed to help the students to pray and worship - the first one we led through the themes of creation, fall, redemption and looking to final restoration, and in the second we praised God for his trinity and applied ourselves to singing about grace and unity. There isn't much in the song, "We are one in the Spirit" (is that how it is in English?), but once you've taken the best verse in Flemish and compiled/rewritten a verse in French to focus on working together to tell the world that Jesus is the Saviour, and take the chorus in English, you've got a great song expression of unity in the gospel!

Mostly the mixture of languages worked ok in singing - though some day I'm going to track down whoever translated most of the songs into French and kneecap them for their musical ineptitude*: I spent a fair amount of time and energy rewriting portions of songs in French to make the words actually fit the music. (* Ok, grace abounds even more than musical ineptitude.) And Be Thou My Vision is going to haunt me for a while, musically speaking. Notes to musicians/song leaders: 1) don't attempt a time change in a song if your bongos player has disappeared unless you're sure your guitarists can change time, 2) don't attempt to NOT go up 2 keys in the course of a song if the music from which your guitarists are reading DOES go up 2 keys in the course of the song: they won't think to read from the beginning and 3) don't attempt to combine the musical traditions of 3 countries in one song: just go for one. But you already knew that, didn't you?

A few books were bought, and most students bought some of Chawkat's books which is good. The students enjoyed being together French and Flemish. I enjoyed being involved in organisation and interpreting the talks French-English for a Londoner there with his Flemish girlfriend.

And the daft language thing of the weekend for me was not a confusion of French, Flemish and English: no, it was in a public question time slightly mispronouncing the French word for "mouth", so that I asked the speaker about, "If you confess with your log that Jesus is Lord...", causing much frivolity for the girls in front of me.


mama said...

Your charming N Ireland cultural heritage is showing. As Christians we don't kneecap people any more, remember?

étrangère said...


Put it down to the cultural confusion of the camp.