8th October 2018
Thanks for your card, it’s taken me a while to write back because my parents were over visiting when it arrived and I didn’t have a chance to sit down and concentrate. They’re back in England now and since my car overheated at the weekend I am sat here at a garage with plenty of time, while I wait for it to be fixed, to write to you.
Yes, we’ve found a new church and joined a life group. We still don’t know many people properly yet, but we’re slowly getting there. Of course lots of the Americans we meet tell us their entire life stories at the first meeting! As Brits we could learn a lot from how open they are, and they could learn a lot from how quiet we are! Some of their stories can be interesting, but I wouldn’t say we’ve made solid friendships with anyone yet, please keep praying for that.
According to a voting website we live in an area where 80% of people voted for Trump, so we’re probably being rather guarded. How would our new neighbours react if they knew we couldn’t stand him? New acquaintances asked why we Brits didn’t like him, and I’ve learnt that of the myriad things I could say, a safe option is to talk about climate change. It’s a topic that’s not on the radar of Trump supporters and generally they don’t have arguments ready to debate it. I simply tell them that we are hugely disappointed that he pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord and leave it there. So far, it’s worked, however it’s probably not the best conversation for us to have when we are trying to make friends.
If someone in Alabama asks what religion you are, that isn’t a questions about faith but rather American football. There are two big college teams that are huge rivals; University of Alabama and Auburn University. For some reason the University of Alabama call themselves ‘roll tide’ or the ‘crimson tide’, which we think sounds like an euphemism for being on your period; ‘the crimson tide is in again’! But we won’t tell the locals. Honestly, how are we ever going to make friends? And if we choose the wrong team we’ll be alienating half the state!
Another customer, a man, has just walked in to the garage’s waiting room. He’s ranting about Washington and the recent Ford/Kavanaugh case which I think was reported in the UK (it was on the BBC news programme that we watch here). I have no idea whose side he’s on, he’s really worked up; I’m claiming ignorance as he’s trying to get my view and I don’t want to get into an argument. He seems to be pro-Trump, but I think he was saying that Ford had been wronged and the #MeToo movement was a good thing. Now he’s saying that he’s convinced that the USA is becoming Venezuela because of socialist policies. It’s all a bit odd, he seems friendly but crazy and has the loudest voice I’ve ever heard; I think he may be a bit deaf as he doesn’t seem to be able to hear the mechanic. As I’m no company for him, he’s now listening to a radio station or podcast that’s talking about the militarisation of black republicans. Again, I’m uncertain if it’s a call to arms or a warning against it. This anger that seems to be bubbling under the surface of him and so many here is really worrying.
When I left Virginia to return to the UK I felt strongly that God was calling me to pray for Americans to love one another and for them to be known for their love for one another (John 13:35). Please join me in praying for this, there still seems to be a long way to go, and in the meantime we need friends. Thanks for your care that extends across the miles,
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