November 3, 2007


In how many languages can you greet someone?

Confession here – I LOVE TRAVELLING!! One of the greatest perks about being a missionary is traveling and learning about people in a bunch of places. As a teenager, I was blessed with the unique opportunity to travel to a bunch of different countries on short term mission trips. I feel that during those trips, God opened my eyes to what He was doing in the world and I remembering praying “If you want me to…I’ll go.”

At that time I didn’t have any idea to which country or culture I would be interested in ministering to, but seemed drawn to Europe since that was where I was most familiar.

God brought me a wonderful man and I have been married to the love of my life for 7 years now. Wow – I am so blessed!

We had the same heart to serve overseas and told each other that we would each visit the other’s favorite country and see if God was leading us to move there and minister. Our first trip was to see South Africa and the plan was to see the Czech Republic next. Well, it was obvious to me that the Lord was drawing my heart to Africa also, so we started the process of formally joining a mission organization. (We never went to Czech!)

After a couple years of raising support, we moved to Johannesburg, South Africa in February of 2006.

I promise that being a missionary is one of the greatest and hardest careers in the world. Our first year here, we were commissioned to “learn language and culture” so that we wouldn’t make as many cultural blunders as missionaries in the past and could earn credibility with the Africans. That turned out to be quite the endeavor! The country of South Africa has 11 nationally recognized languages and at least as many different cultures to learn about. We took Zulu language classes formally and were coached by language tutors in Northern Sotho, Tsonga/Shangaan, and Afrikaans. In addition to the 11 in SA, when we traveled to Mozambique, we tried to pick up some Portuguese and when we traveled to Zimbabwe, we tried to learn some Shona. My brain felt scrambled all year…actually it still feels that way!

We couldn’t possibly retain everything, so now I have the greatest little cheat sheets on 3x5 cards that I keep in my purse to refer back to as needed. Everyone you meet who has gone to school knows way more English then I know of any of their language, so after I attempt to greet them properly, we switch into English after that. It truly does make a difference to Africans to know you are at least trying to learn about their language and culture. We have tried to make a habit of asking “what is your first language” of people we meet in order to greet them or say “thank you” in their language. It is fun to see their faces light up in appreciation.

So, the final tally is: I know how to say hello in 25 languages

That is another fun perk about being a missionary!

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