Hey guys, I hope you are all well. I’ve not written for a while, but I’m OK.
But I do need your help. I’m trying my best to raise awareness and support for a ministry that is near to my heart, but I keep hitting brick walls. How do I get the word out? The only way to raise support is to get the word out to more people, but I’m at a loss on how.
If you are already following my other blog, WallHoleCoverings.com, then you have probably already seen a post about this painting.
If you have not seen the other post, then please KEEP READING.
Last night I finished a piece I have entitled “The Least of These.” I based it on a photo I took of a Christian worker in a Muslim-owned brick kiln in Pakistan.
My hope is to raise funds to help buy people like this brother and his family out of debt and out of this literal slavery.
So many people in Pakistan live in poverty. Of the Christians that live there, the majority of them live in abject poverty. This is not simply a matter of choice, but opportunity. With a near 98% Muslim population in a Muslim country, the Christians are not afforded the same opportunities and are often forced to do the hardest work.
Those who work at the kilns are required to have their whole families live there in horrible conditions. They live there until the debt they owe is paid off. That, of course, is the catch. Most often, even though the goal might have been to pay off a small loan for food or medical expenses (usually no more than $200), families wind up working for generations paying off accumulated fees and additional loans attached to the little salary they receive.
Working with Grace Charity Schools in Toba Tek Singh, Punjab, I will be using funds raised from the sale of this and other paintings and prints to rescue these families from indentured slavery and help them start over.
For every gift from $20-$50, I will send you a simple semi-matte print in your choice of size (5″x7″ and up), shipping included.
For every gift OVER $50, I will send you an 8.5″x11″ Sommerset Giclee reproduction print.
For any gift of $75 or more, I will send you a signed and artist-enhanced Sommerset Giclee reproduction (I will enhance the print with actual paint).
Please click on the following link to visit Wall Hole Coverings if you would like to donate. You will see a PayPal link at the bottom of the post.
Greetings and all that good stuff! This is the day that the Lord has made, so get happy!
Today (Thursday) at 9 a.m. (eastern), a video I made premiered on YouTube. The video is of a Power Point presentation, one that I delivered on Discord, but few had the chance to see.
This YouTube video contains me narrating the presentation, which also contains video of things in Pakistan.
One thing important to note, however, is that in one of the videos you will see a big bus nearly hit us head-on. We call them “killer busses,” because they don’t slow down for anything. Sadly, Victor Sammuel and his family were in an accident yesterday in volving one of these “killers.” It nearly killed them!
Only by the grace of God did Victor, Sophia, Jamal, and Zoe escape the accident without injury. The Toyota Camry they were driving, on the other hand, did not fare well. It will need to be replaced, and they don’t have insurance. If you can help toward this, let me know.
The bus never stopped, either.
Please, when you have the time, watch the PowerPoint presentation I made. I would love to hear your thoughts.
There must be a list somewhere in the blogosphere that keeps a record of the least-covered or strangest topics. If there is, I am almost certain toilets would be at the top of the list – or should I say bottom? See what I did there? HA!
Well, before you flush this post, let me get to the point: I think the Pakistanis have the right idea when it comes to toilet hygiene. And considering the fact that 99% of all eateries there would never place on a “restaurant report card,” much less pass, that’s saying something!
So, what’s so special about the toilets in Pakistan? The spray nozzles!
You see, the only thing they use toilet paper for in Pakistan is drying your tush, not wiping it. And when you use the toilet paper, you don’t flush it, either; you put it in the trash.
When I was first told what to expect, that I wouldn’t be flushing my toilet paper, it disgusted me! My immediate response was imagining stinking, poopy paper beside me in some trash can. But in reality, it was nothing like that. Thank the Lord!
Actually, beside every toilet – unless you go to where people only have a hole in the ground – is a spray nozzle attached to a long, metal hose. In most cases, it is attached to the wall beside the toilet paper, but not always. Sometimes there was no paper, only a nozzle.
At first it was a little awkward. I mean, it was like taking the spray nozzle from your kitchen sink to your behind. But let me tell you, I got used to it really quickly!
Just the other day I saw a commercial for a particular toilet paper brand, the one that uses animated bears. It talked about how that specific brand of paper had ridges that left you cleaner . . . cleaner than the competition, that is.
But tell me, how to we call something we’ve simply wiped with dry paper “clean”? Does that really make sense? When you wash your hands, do you simply rub them with a dry paper towel until nothing shows on the paper? Would you call that CLEAN?
All this leads me to another thought, one that might not be the safest to contemplate. How did our societies develop such different ways of summing up number two? Europe and Japan are far closer to this way of cleaning one’s rear end than America is. Why? Is there a toilet paper cabal? A cardboard tube syndicate?
So, what’s the moral of this story? How can we benefit from what we’ve learned?
Don’t assume your way is the always the best way. Somebody may nozzle more than you. See what I did there? Know/nozzle … HA! I crack myself up! Ahh! I did it again!
I love to drive, and I love to drive fast. As a matter of fact, every automobile I’ve owned (with only a few exceptions) has been taken up to 100mph at least once. It’s just a thing I do.
Have you ever driven on a freshly paved road? Remember when in the movie “Cars” they drove around on a freshly re-paved road and loved it? That’s the kind of driving surface that cries out for speed! I love it.
And then there was Pakistan.
Honestly, the roads in Pakistan were not as bad as some others on which I’ve driven (or ridden). The roads in Zimbabwe were pretty darn rough. They were so rough that guys would sit on the side of the road with air compressors and offer to air up your tires for a dollar. The roads were so bad that your tires would lose pressure!
Then there are also the roads where I live in middle Georgia. The paved roads are just fine; it’s the DIRT roads that are sometimes a challenge. There are a lot of dirt roads in middle Georgia.
However, in Pakistan the roads, on average, were not capable of sustaining any kind of speed. The only time that was possible was when one traveled on the main highway between major cities. That was as nice as a modern American highway.
But it wasn’t the roughness or the smoothness of the Pakistani roads that stuck in my mind. No, what contributed to my PTSD was the fact that there are NO RULES!
Oh, I know what you are probably thinking. You think that I’m overreacting. You think that it’s only because I’m used to the rules of the road in my own country, that there are rules, but I was not culturally sensitive to them.
And you would be wrong. Sorry.
Look, the only – and I mean ONLY – rule I observed over the many hours my life was put in danger was that there were two directions. In other words, when you want to go somewhere in Pakistan, you go in that direction. When you are going in that direction, you and all the other people traveling in that direction are to use only one side of the road. All the people going in a different direction are to use the other side of the road. That’s it!
Oh, wait… I just thought of another one. My bad.
The only other rule has to do with who has the right of way. It’s pretty simple, though. The bigger the vehicle is the more right of way it has. It’s called the “Get out of the way or die!” rule.
Now, remind me … did I say that there were essentially only two rules of the road in Pakistan? I’m sorry for misleading you. Actually, there are no rules – they are only guidelines.
Remember how I said that you only need to stay on one side of the road? That’s not entirely true. You know those lines we have in the middle of roads that separate lanes? Not in Pakistan. No, all you have is a road. YOU decide where it is on the road you want to be, depending on who is in front of you.
Here in America, we have rules regarding when it is safe to pass another vehicle. One of the rules of which you might be familiar is “never pass when there is a double yellow line.” Not in Pakistan. When someone is slowing you down, just pass them … even if traffic is coming in the opposite direction. I mean, they will move over into the dirt when they see you coming, so do what you need to do!
But there is something strange about the differences between Pakistani driving and, let’s say, the way people drive in a large American city.
For example, when I drive through cities like Nashville, Chattanooga, Augusta, and Atlanta, what I see are multiple lanes of organized and heavily regulated traffic. Here there are clearly delineated lanes, traffic lights and signs, and even plenty of law enforcement to keep a watch on things.
When I traveled on the roads of Pakistan, there were no lines, no regulations, very little law enforcement, and hardly any street/traffic lights or signs.
Yet, the whole time I was in Pakistan – no joke – I never witnessed a single accident. Not one!
THAT should make a person question a lot of things, right?
Travel down any American highway and you will see accidents all the time. Even in the most orderly and regulated settings, somebody is going to do something stupid and crash. And even if you don’t witness cars having a wreck, let somebody cut another person off and you WILL see fingers raised and maybe a little road rage.
Travel in Pakistan and you will see people weaving in and out, cutting others off, driving aggressively and pushing themselves into flow, yet you will never see anyone flipping another off or hear anyone yelling obscenities. No, what you will see is mutual respect, acceptance, understanding, and this attitude of “it’s just the way things are, so don’t get your panties in a wad.”
With all our rules, American drivers are less mature than those with no rules or regulations. Strange.
A Powerful Lesson
So, I think there is a powerful lesson to learn from all this talk about traffic. It has to do with the rules and regulations that are constantly pushed upon us and down our throats.
It’s not only America, but in most all Western nations there is this idea that the government knows best. They treat all us citizens as children, not adults, who need to have our hands held through every facet of life, especially when driving.
One of the greatest examples of this is the traffic camera. Because the government (local and otherwise) cannot trust us to drive responsibly, they put of cameras that check our speed, watch us at intersections, and generally track us wherever we go. It’s like, “I’m giving you rules to show you what you’re allowed to do, but I’m not going to trust you to make the right decisions.”
People who are treated like children will act like children.
But in Pakistan, where there are literally no lines, no lanes, no signs, no lights, and no cameras, the ones treated like responsible adults act like responsible adults – and even in the most dangerous traffic don’t have wrecks.
So, consider the following scriptures. One is from the Old Testament, while the other is from the New Testament (quoting the one from the OT).
But this [shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. – Jeremiah 31:33 For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: – Hebrews 8:10
Where legalism exists, the one subject to the rules and regulations rarely makes the issues of right and wrong a matter of the heart. No, the primary response to legalism is the temptation to push the limits and/or rebel against the authority. This is why so many people who grow up in overly strict religious environments go hog wild when they get out on their own.
Yet, when people are taught what is right and wrong and eventually trusted to make the right decisions as responsible, mature adults, the “law in the heart” guides even when the cameras are missing.