In the mail today, I got a little padded envelope from Singapore, with three cds inside--photos and videos from my son, the missionary. How lovely and how strange, to get a hit of six months' worth of my son's experiences in this very different place. Included in the packet is a little video of almost seventeen minutes, recording the "I can eat 15 pieces of French toast in 15 minutes" challenge (my son the challenger, his companion the chef). For the record, he was successful, and the film, despite its longueurs, offered its pleasures, too, such as seeing his long feet in their gold-toed socks, seeing a flash of his smile from time to time, seeing his humor and intelligence.
It's six months--six months, in which he began to learn a language and then went to a place where he'd need to be able to use it to function; in which he learned to live with a young man whose experiences, beliefs, and ideas about the world were very different from his own; in which he learned to love another culture and the people he met there. All the communications I get from him--and I hear from him each week--could not have given me the direct view that these images have given me. Here are a few of them.
Young man in a white shirt, between two monoliths.
Young man with a superior weapon.
Young man whose brains are protected by a helmet.
The flora of an alien land.
And, the pièce de résistance, young man shooting film while riding a bike,
which I'm absolutely sure is totally safe.