I had the chance to wander around a bit with the camera this morning. Here's some shots from right around our part of town.
The women and children are always behind the men. They are always completely seperated in the religious settings.
There are hundreds of mosques throughout our small town of Tarakan. Each and every mosque was literally overflowing this morning. In many cases the streets were blocked off so that hundreds or thousands of people could throw down their prayer mats right out on the roads.
I must admit it did feel a bit awkward at times--being the only westerner AND non-Muslim in a crowd of tens of thousands. However, as is almost always the case here, folks were overly friendly and very polite. It wasn't hard to take pictures, because most people asked me to take their picture before I even had the chance to look their way.
At the largest mosque in town, there were tens of thousands of people--in the mosque, the courtyard, and filling up the streets in all directions from the mosque. Loud speakers blaring the prayers could be heard from anywhere in town.
Later in the morning, Joy and the kids and I went around the Muslim communities in our neighborhood to visit with people. Again, folks were so nice and polite. It was a great opportunity to continue to build relationships.
Later today this meat will be divided up among all the people of that neighborhood. Even those too poor to have a sacrifice will be given meat from those that could afford it. Then they will feast together.
If anything this should be a stark reminder to you and I about why we're here. Please continue to pray for our friends and neighbors, that they may know the joy and peace that we have and are about to celebrate on December 25th. Also, continue to pray for wisdom for us as we continue to build and strengthen relationships with our neighbors, that we might know when, how and what to say. In the meantime, we're just living as a light for HIM!