Shared Laughter: One missionary’s story

The “Global South” include all of the nations in Africa, South America, the South Pacific, Asia, and the country of India.  Christians in all of these places are highly mobilized for missions! They are passionate about Jesus! Sometimes they answer God’s call to be missionaries in their own country,  and sometimes they go to a neighboring country.  Missionaries these days are no longer only “white”, rather they come from all different nations and all different socio-economic backgrounds.  In fact, many of our American mission training has had to be “re-tooled” for Global South audiences.

But one thing everyone who leaves their own culture and goes to another has in common is, they can make verbal and cultural blunders while learning a new language. Sometimes those mistakes are funny, and sometimes embarrassing, but in these situations one just has to learn to laugh at one’s self and move on!   In the story below, a missionary from Nigeria was at a pastors’ conference in a neighboring African nation:

(From AfriGO Magazine, 2/12/24) – “Serving amongst people in a cultural context different from yours can be exciting and challenging, sometimes embarrassing and irritating! I had goosebumps at a pastors’ conference in Minembwe, Congo Democratic Republic. As one of the speakers, we relied on locals to interpret our presentations from English to the Kinyamulenge language. We had just returned from a tea break and it was my turn to speak. I went to the lectern with the confidence to start, but unknown to me, the man who would interpret was unavailable. I prayed and started with greetings, Muraho neza (hello everyone). There was a loud response from the audience as they all stared at me in amazement for suddenly speaking their language, and I froze in embarrassment. Seeing the look on my face, they laughed even harder! Freaked out, I searched in vain for my interpreter, then he suddenly ran in. I was relieved, and joined with the attendees in ‘holy glee’.”

From a Nigerian Missionary To the DRC

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