Oct 11, 2011

Te quiero mucho

I imagine that one of the greatest challenges of a missionary is to learn the culture and language.  Particularly because language has so many subtle meanings.  For example, when we say, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”, we don’t really mean what we’re saying.  It’s just an expression. I often wonder what people coming to the United States must think when they hear such odd expressions.

The Missionary Douane Luttenauer found this out the hard way.  After a rather embarrassing episode in his life, he told his Spanish-speaking Aunt that he was  embarasada.  The problem was this. Embarasada means pregnant in Spanish.  Apparently Douane, who serves with the Latin America Mission, made a very common mistake of those learning another language.

HCJB missionary Karen Pedersen admonished a group of nursing home residents in Ecuador that "Jesus didn't come to earth just to give us another hardware store!" She had confused hardware store ferretería with holiday feriado.

Angela Deas, who, as a student at Southern Methodist University worked in Mexico with LAM's Spearhead program, once received octopus, squid, mussels and other marine life on top of her pasta when she ordered marine spaghetti instead of marinated spaghetti.

And my favorite: LAM missionary Nancy Sabean in Costa Rica on one occasion told a baby sitter that if her children got hungry, she should "eat them." What she had meant to say was: "feed them."  Fortunately, the babysitter knew that this was a common mistake and she did actually feed the baby.

But while missionaries are constrained by the subtlety of language, God isn’t.  He actually doesn’t even need language. He can read your heart and understands what you are trying to say even before the words come out of your mouth.  He never loses anything due to translation.  He loves you.  Te quiero mucho.


Pastor David Hook

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