In our area of Ghana, there are ditches beside most roads. These ditches can contain anything ranging from dirty dish water to sewer. One can never tell exactly what might be in those ditches! On one particular road, there is a big canal on both sides of the road, but it contains the same things that the ditches do. The other day, our children went somewhere with Daddy. While waiting for something, they were standing on the side of the road next to the canal. The children are like their father in that they can strike up a conversation with anyone. While they waited, they were talking to a young man who was wearing only underwear. As they were getting into the car to leave, the boy to whom they had been talking jumped in the canal. When Gilbert got home, he said, “Mom, we had a brand new friend, and he jumped in the sewer ditch!” The way in which he said it made it sound as if their “brand new friend” was no longer “brand new” after jumping in that ditch!
A few years ago, we lived with another missionary family for six months. We were both missionaries in Ivory Coast, but all of the missionaries had left Ivory Coast at that time due to civil unrest. So, we shared a house in Ghana for a few months. While reading through some old e-mails, I found something funny. Their oldest daughter was about five at that time. One day, she picked up the seam ripper and said, “Mom, I know what this is – a toothpick!”
When we were in language school in France, there was a lady who worked in the nursery at the school who befriended us. We did not have school on Wednesdays. A couple times a month, she would have us come to her house on Wednesday. We would practice our French with her. She spoke English well and could correct us when we went astray. We always had coffee and some type of pastry. One day when she offered us more pastries, I said that I was full, or at least I thought that was what I said. I said, “Je suis plein,” which if taken apart word by word says, “I am full.” We learned that day that there are some adjectives that are not used with “am.” They are used with “have” instead. I should have said, “J’ai plein,” meaning “I have plenty.” She explained that “Je suis plein.” means “I am drunk.” Oops!! Oh the joys of learning a foreign language!!
If you have a language blooper or some other funny story that you would like to share with us, please e-mail it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, we will have some stories from Donna Schepers, missionary in Dominican Republic.
Check out the new website, www.missionaryonfire.com, a place to hear interviews with long-time missionaries. Let their stories inspire you to do more for the Lord. The first interview is with Frank Drown, a missionary who went to the mission field in 1944.
Until next week, keep your sunny side up!