HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: WOMEN DON’T SMILE IN MY COUNTRY
Ready! Set! Action!
Umida and Feruza were dressed for the set. Lori had finished their hair and make-up. The cameramen, techs, and producer were set-up to film around a water feature in a garden. Everything was ready to shoot the opening scene for the Shukar Aytayman (I Am Thankful) Uzbek Women’s Program. The producer said, “Ladies, there’s no dialog in these scenes. They’re just part of the titles we’ll have at the beginning of each show. I want the viewers to be drawn into the program by your joy. So big smiles, OK?”
It wasn’t OK. Umida said, “Women don’t smile in my country.” Can you imagine the implications of that? How early in a girl’s life would you have to begin training her that smiling is unacceptable? Or perhaps she learns it by observing the women around her who never smile?
A Simple Smile
Look back over yesterday. How many times did you smile? Perhaps there was a smile on your face as you took your morning shower? Certainly you smiled into the mirror as you gave yourself the final once over, to imagine how people would see you during the day? Over breakfast did you share a smile with a child, a spouse, or a roommate? Did you nod at your next door neighbor and grin as you backed out your car? If you dropped your kids off at day care or a babysitter’s did you smile at the employees receiving your child? Did you smile at the doorman or security guard or receptionist at your office?
Smiles greet, thank, and reassure those around us. Smiles help us cope with the stresses of life. Smiles allow us to express pleasure and joy. In our western culture, even in the dreariest of lives, a smile is a necessity for males and females alike. In Uzbekistan, women don’t smile.
Imagine a life without smiles. In fact, give it a try. See how long you can go without smiling, even to yourself – perhaps especially to yourself.
Back on the Set
For a moment, everything came to a halt. Steve, our producer, had to think for a moment. One of the primary things we require of ourselves, as we film our programs, is that they be culturally correct. We want everything that is said and done, every prop and wardrobe choice, to be true to the lives of our audience. Certainly through satellite broadcasting and the internet, our audience sees the smiles of women from Westernized cultures, but they do not share smiles among themselves.
A quick prayer went up, “Father, what would you have us do?” And then suddenly he knew. Steve said, “Well, we’re going to smile today. Let’s show the Uzbek women what it means to have the joy of the Lord.” The resulting footage is a message without words. Umida and Feruza invite the women of their country into their joy before a single syllable is spoken.
This is the purpose of GHM programming. We want the people of The Middle East and Central Asia to know there is something to smile about. We want them to have hope, in a place where it is unknown. We want the joy of the Lord to invade their lives with profound change.
Help Reap the Harvest
You can partner with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.
We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor. Contact us today by phone or email. Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.