Chris stood before the mirror admiring a new, white shirt.
"Which tie should I put on, dear?" he asked.
"The red one with the small navy dots will be best for what I am wearing," Lydia replied.
They always tried to be colour-matched when seen together at the front. Today she would be interpreting for him at a meeting. He spoke the language, but she was more fluent than him. They did not know exactly where the church was, but were told that a man from would pick them up from where they were staying.
"We need to be quick, the deacon is going to pick us up in ten minutes. It is likely to be a long drive."
Exactly on time, a very old Volvo drove up to the driveway of the house. A man in dark grey, baggy trousers and a green shirt jumped out, set of with an urgent stride to the front door and gave two sharp, very loud knocks.
"Coming," cried Lydia.
Lydia, attractive in her red dress, and Chris, dazzling in red and white, rushed out of the front door and threw a huge smile at the waiting deacon.
"Good morning!" they declared one after the other.
"Good morning," the man politely replied.
" My name is Chris and this is my wife Lydia. She will be interpreting for me".
"My name is Nick, it is a pleasure".
Lydia noticed his eyes darting furtively, conducting a quick survey, up and down, of them both.
They spent the next ten minutes in the car in silence. Twice along the way Chris noticed clearings in the woods and burnt-out campfires. He wondered if this was where the believers met before permission was given to meet in their current premises.
"Where do you live?" asked Chris, turning to the driver, to start the conversation.
"Not far.......tell me, who invited you to our church?"
"Our mission asked us to come at the request of your pastor. He wanted us to teach on the letters of Apostle Paul," replied Chris. "We were asked to speak on Christian liberty".
At the meeting Chris began his series of talks titled 'God's gospel, or man's gospel?' with the letter to the Galatians. Chris and Lydia noticed that hardly anyone looked directly at them, and they wondered if the people understand the message. Chris also noticed all the men had open-necked shirts and that no-one wore a tie.
After the meeting, during the lunch that the church served in honor of their guests, a middle-aged man walked up to Chris. He had a long and serious look that further stretched his already gaunt face.
"Praise the Lord, pastor!".
"Praise the Lord!" said Chris.
"I see that you have a tie," said the man.
"Yes... I noticed the men here do not wear ties." Chris answered, trying to open up the conversation.
"Do you know that red is the devil's color?" he asked.
At this point Chris felt that the man had assumed the air of a confident farmer, waving a rag before a bull to move it into the next paddock. The man was aware of the danger - but he felt supremely in charge.
'Is that right? I did not know that. I haven't seen his color charts."
Not allowing himself to be put off, the man continued - but now looking directly into Chris' eyes -"And did you realize that ties are of the world?"
"No," Chris replied. He was fascinated where this conversation was heading.
"And do you realize that your tie is pointing downwards...to HELL!?"
The man paused to see the effect of his words.
As if by a reflex reaction, Chris looked down at the floor. It was solid.
The man continued, "I am only a servant of the Lord, it is my duty to expose any infernal dangers in our midst".
" What a heavy burden," said Chris, "but I can fix the problem."
Chris took off his tie clasp. The smile of satisfaction that began to appear on the man's face faded just as quickly, as Chris took hold of the end of his tie, folded it upwards, and replaced the clasp so that the end of the tie now pointed upwards.
"Look at that," said Chris, " it is now pointing to heaven, so ....Praise the Lord!".
"Praise the Lord!" repeated the man. But the bull having left for another paddock on the other side, he turned around and left.
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