Recent Posts from the Mumena Team

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Davis Missionary Journey: Give me that…

"Give me that…" said the pre-school teacher as she saw Rita putting up a nice tent. That was the final straw for Sondra. "You've been given more than anyone!" Sondra replied. "Continually asking for more and more is not right; so STOP asking!" The teacher looked confused. Later Sondra brought up the situation in the pre-school teachers weekly Bible study in order to explore the ethic of such behavior. With understanding dawning, the pre-school teachers informed Sondra that saying "Give me that…" concerning a certain object is the cultural expression of "complementing" that item, but there is no expectation of actually being given the item. Of course, if as a foreigner you fail to understand the communication intent and offer the item (thinking someone is really in need of it), no one here will be so foolish as to not accept it!

Understanding communication forms in the heart language of the people is not only key to communicating the Word of God to a people but is also key in evaluating a culture's ethics. Missionaries must evaluate ethics - among other things - in order to develop a teaching curriculum that will help in the transformation of a people's world-view from the former animistic way of understanding reality to understanding reality as God reveals it in His Word. As cultural "outsiders", we must develop trusting relationships with "insiders" who can guide us in this understanding. Sometimes, however, we feel as if we have fallen into the parable that Jesus taught (though hopefully for different reasons):

"Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?"
Luke 6:39 KJV

Beginning to see!
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


Pictured: Davises in language / culture learning with the Kakoma family

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