Everything works a little different in Georgia than it does in America. I know this is nothing new to most of you. But even how the Georgians go about making a decision is completely different. You see, the key to decision making in Georgia is group collaboration. What do I mean? Well, two people in the Telavi church have been waiting to be baptized for over a month. The hold-up? Waiting on the entire church to agree upon a day and time to go to the river.
One might think that this would just require a quick conversation, maybe a vote on the best day, and a decision essentially made by church leaders. But not in Georgia. No, here it requires endless conversation…debates even… on what would be best. Numerous days would be chosen, all eventually cast aside because someone didn’t like it. Which leads to more debate and conversation. And new ideas presented…all to be shot down. The fact that anything ever gets done with this kind of process is a miracle. And you can ask the Colorado team that was just here – this process is the same regardless of what decision is being made. It all requires the input of every single person that might ever be affected – ever.
Now, if anyone from the Republic of Georgia is reading this, please know that I explain this process more from a position of sharing how life is different here than to pass judgment on this way of life. While I believe that God placed leadership in place for a reason – and making decisions for the group is part of that (you know, so it doesn’t take months to make a single decision), I understand that not everyone follows the American way. And there are plenty of areas where we Americans could really learn from Georgians. For instance, I am daily blown away by how Georgians are so hospitable and show care for others. And don’t get me started on how much they care about their relationships with others – family or not. There are plenty of areas where we really could learn from each other.
So with that said, today we finally had a baptism. How did we come to the decision to have it today? Well one of the people being baptized is leaving the country tomorrow. So at 11:12am I received call stating that at 11:20ish everyone was meeting at the Pastor’s house to carpool to the Alazani River, and if I wanted to go, I needed to come now. Yes, I literally received 8 minutes notice of a baptism. I was just walking up the 3 flights of stairs to my apartment after finishing up my language lesson, so I turned and headed back down without even going in…and headed to the river in jeans, a t-shirt and sneakers. And it was hot…and the water looked so refreshing, it made me wish I had taken a few minutes to grab some shorts and flip flops!
But the baptisms did happen. And both people were extremely happy to finally be able to take part in this symbol of their faith. All in all, it was a great time. My American-ness just wished I had time to prepare 🙂
The good news – it wasn’t about me. It was about these new believers, and giving God the glory for what He is doing in their lives. Thank you Lord.