Translation Please

I met Stephen on a night when he came to speak to ORU missionaries for their week of training for summer trips. I’m currently wearing the blue shirt that I was wearing that night I met Stephen :) It’s funny how us females remember these kinds of things! I realize most of you reading this probably know the story about the hysterically sobbing girl on the front row (me!) and how he thought I was married. What you may not know is that previous to Stephen preaching, he acted out a hilarious skit with his best friend Kevin. Together the two of them pretended to be in a scenario overseas where Kevin played an American preaching in an African church and Stephen played an African translator. I literally had tears I was laughing so hard! Most of our American idioms don’t translate well and chaos can ensue in translation. Examples are, “Where I come from it’s raining cats and dog?” turns out to be “Where our brother comes from, small rodents are falling from the skies.” “If one person gets on fire for God, then other people get on fire too” equals “If one man brings fire to the church, the whole church goes up in flames!” “Shoot yourself in the foot” is “this man he got out a gun and shot his foot”.

This can be funny and equally challenging especially if you aren’t used to communicating cross culturally. Yesterday Stephen preached two services with a young Malagasy man that he’s worked with the past couple of years. His sermon was based on 2 Kings 13 with Elisha and King Joash. In short, we had a handmade bow and arrows for visual aid. Things were entertaining at times when the emphasis was placed on the bow and arrow or when Stephen made culturally relevant jokes and the congregation laughed. However if there was no translation made, it would’ve been quite crazy!

It just made me laugh and think about how many things that if they are not communicated properly give way to a lot of misunderstandings. Sometimes I sit here wondering what tomorrow will bring even though I know Jesus told us that today has enough to think about and not to worry. It’s comforting to me to know that God knows the end from the beginning. That He’s not scrambling trying to figure out what will happen next. He is at peace and still on the throne. What does get off sometimes is when we don’t read His word and we allow other things or people dictate what His word says. We have a choice to choose Him and to choose life everyday, but He’s the only one who can rightly translate the world around us and speak a word of peace to our hearts. There is no confusion in Him. No mixed signs of what He could be saying to us. He leads us as sons and daughters by the peace of His word and witness of His spirit. It’s not always easy, but it is always right when we know His word. He is infinite and while we could never fully comprehend Him, He speaks to us as His children and desires to guide us into His truth.

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