This is Katy, one of our literacy students. She attended class faithfully last week, but was absent today. This afternoon, I went by her house to investigate, but no one was home. Then, this evening, we heard the gossip.
Apparently, Katy’s husband, Roman, forbade Katy from coming to class. The ladies explaining this said his motivation was “jealousy” (they said the word in English.) At first I thought Roman must be jealous that Katy is in the class and he is not. After all, no one likes to be shown up by his wife. This surprised me, though, because I’ve already talked to Roman about being in the next class which will be slower instead of this fast-paced class full of our more educated villagers. But I was wrong; that is not the root of his jealousy. The ladies explained that Roman is jealous because of two of the men in the class. So I thought these two guys must be flirtatious or maybe there is some relational history I have not heard about causing Roman’s jealousy. But, again, I was wrong. I finally concluded that the root of the problem is actually that the ladies telling me the story don’t know what the English word “jealousy” means.
My current understanding is that there is some unresolved conflict between two of the male students and Roman from childhood. Because of that, Roman is expressing his disdain for the two male students by preventing his wife from attending a class which they also attend.
Gapi, one of the story tellers, said that neither she nor her husband could do anything about this (like trying to talk sense into Roman) because it is a family issue. She did, however, imply with pregnant pause that I could go talk some sense into Roman. But I didn’t. And I won’t. The last thing I want to do is offend Roman now and jeopardize his chances or Katy’s chances of coming to hear our Bible teaching.
So pray for Katy. And pray for Roman. And pray for the Menya people. Pray that petty “jealousy” and personal conflicts won’t prevent people from hearing the truth of God’s word.