Friday, July 15, 2016

Hari Raya Adventures

In our area of SE Asia, the end-of-Ramadan festival, known as Hari Raya, is quite a big deal, to understate its cultural importance. For Americans, the closest comparison I have heard is that Hari Raya is the “Christmas” of holidays here, but even that doesn’t come close to the magnitude of the festivities here; Hari Raya is at a minimum three days, but the actual holiday is full month. It’s a time of celebration after fasting from sun up to sun down for an entire month, which seems to be a bittersweet trial or celebratory religious experience, depending on who you ask. Nevertheless, nearly all of the Muslims in our ~7.2 million population city skip town and return to their home villages and towns for Hari Raya to celebrate with extended family and friends.
Byan and James got to visit this beautiful beach on their Hari Raya adventure!

Naturally, all of the NTers here have had a much-prayed-for goal all summer: get invited! Ramadan provides such an easy, natural opportunity to share the Good News, and Hari Raya would not only facilitate increased friendship with people we have met through the bonding experience of travel, but it would also allow for constant discussion, maybe even with family members of our friends! (Also, it would give us a chance to dress in formal SE Asian clothing, which is always a plus). The girls get to wear long-sleeved pretty shirts and long skirts, while the guys get to wear long sleeves and long pants with a saneing that goes over it.  Yes we all died a little inside going to houses with no air conditioning wearing long sleeved clothing, but while we're here we might as well get the full on Southeast Asian experience.  We all got to experience Hari Raya with different friends.  The girls stayed in our city with friends that we met and the guys got to travel a little outside of our city.  

All in all our experiences were full of lots and lots of food, full bellies, and lots of fun experiences with our friends.  Some of us got to share with our friends and even with their families.  Even if we have not seen changed lives, God's word is being sown into lots of people's hearts and lives and these people are hearing.  Our fun experiences and even not so fun experiences are leading to changed lives one way or another and we just pray that the Lord allows for many of the seeds to change lives in the near future!

-Global City Outreach Team