Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tangled Tongues – Watch out for those Squirrels!

This week, we have another story from Rita Vernoy. She and her husband are missionaries in Paraguay.  She blogs at  They went to language school in Mexico for a year before going to Venezuela as missionaries.  They had to leave Venezuela due to political turmoil and are now serving the Lord in Paraguay.

When they first arrived in Venezuela, Rita’s husband took the pastorate of a church.  This meant that he had to prepare four sermons a week.  His Spanish was decent, but he still had to put a lot of effort into sermon preparation. 

One Sunday, he stood to preach on the subject of “Pride.”  He had a three-point outline and had put a lot of effort into preparing the sermon.  For thirty minutes, he preached about pride.  He told the congregation to search their lives for pride.  He told them that there is no place for pride in the Christian’s life.  It was a very challenging message.

The problem was that the congregation was not responding appropriately.  Many of the people had big smiles, and some were trying not to laugh out loud.  Some looked at their feet during the entire sermon. The adults kept their laughter contained, but the children were laughing.

Rita’s husband was so discouraged with the spirit of the congregation.  He knew that God had wanted him to preach on pride, and he did not understand the problem with the people.  Rita had to break it to him gently that instead of preaching on pride, which is “orgullo” in Spanish, he had used the word “ardilla,” which is the Spanish word for squirrel.  The mental picture that those people were getting would have been quite funny – Christians hunting out and killing squirrels, God hating squirrels, and Christians not having room for squirrels in their lives!

The following week, her husband did not even want to preach.  He was embarrassed about his sermon from the week before.  However, he was the pastor; so, he had to swallow his “squirrels” and preach anyway!

Thank you for sharing that story with us, Rita!

If you have a language blooper or a funny story that you would like to share with us, please e-mail them to me at Please include the name of each family member, your field of service, and a picture of your family if possible.

Until next week, keep your sunny side up!


Charity said...

This one made our whole family laugh hard!

Lou Ann Keiser said...

Laughing, but with tears in my eyes. Oh yes! Been there . . . not much with my husband, but I have certainly made some whopping mistakes in Spanish. Once, I was teaching a "Christian charm course" for our young ladies. I told them about face cream and how moisturizing can help them to keep from having wrinkles in the future. The girls looked at me in horror! I had said "verrugas" which means "warts" instead of "arrugas" which means "wrinkles." A simple slip of the tongue!

I think maybe the Lord used the squirrely sermon on the pastor. :o)