Last November, after 10 months of attending and assisting in Comunidad Vida, our newest city church plant, it was time for us to begin working with one of our other churches. During our last service at CV, they asked both Max and I, individually, to greet the church family. “Oh, man, you’ve got to be kidding!”, I thought. “Do you understand what you’re asking me to do??”
Max went first, thank the Lord. The whole time Max was talking, I was a nervous wreck because my Spanish was still not at the level where I could say a sentence, let alone a whole speech, in public, without any preparation! It’s even hard for me to give a spontaneous speech in English! So, as I was looking at Max (pretending to be listening to him speak), my mind was swimming in a sea of thoughts, present tense and past tense verbs, subjunctives, subject/verb agreements, masculine/feminine, etc. (If you have ever studied another language, you know what I’m talking about.) I was also praying that Max would just keep talking!!
[Oh, to give you a little bit extra info that adds to the story, you need to understand that the position of a pastor’s wife, “pastora”, is highly respected in this culture; actually, not only in the Chilean culture, but in Latin culture in general. Words from the pastora are as highly regarded as words from the pastor. Because I’m Pastor Max’s wife, that makes me Pastora Kristin.]
So, back to the story…Max finished, sat down, and then all eyes turned toward me. “Okay, Lord – here we go.” I stood up, turned around to face the congregation, and just started in. My sentences were short, to the point, and, for the most part, in simple present tense.
However, there was one specific thought that I wanted to share with them. I didn’t know exactly how to say it in Spanish, but I gave it a try anyway. (Do you know how much that KILLS my perfectionistic personality?? The Lord continues to teach me!) So I told them, or at least I thought I told them, “During this first year on the mission field, we have experienced a lot of joy as well as a lot of pain, and you have been with us through it all. Thank you for your patience.” However, halfway through that remark, I saw a lot of strange looks come across the faces of many of the people. I had no idea why, but becoming very accustomed to that reaction when I try to speak in Spanish, I just ignored it and went on. I finished and sat down. “Ahhh, thank you, Lord, I did it! We did it!”
After service, as we were driving home, I mentioned that reaction to Max:
“Do you know why some of the people had strange looks on their faces when I said that? Did I not say it right? Did it not make sense?”
A little smirk, then a grin, and then a chuckle came out of Max.
“Oh, man, what did I say?”
In his very gracious way (and I’m not being sarcastic with that, he really has been gracious and patient with my process of learning Spanish), he said, “Well, I know they understood what you wanted to say.”
I said, “What in the world does that mean?” What did I say?”
He went on to tell me that when I said, “…we have experienced a lot of joy as well as a lot of pain (the word in Spanish is ‘pena’)”, what I really said to them was “…we have experienced a lot of joy and ‘pene’ (which is the word for a certain part of the male anatomy)”.
Can you say ‘oops’???? Well, so much for a pastora’s words being highly regarded!!
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Your turn to share: What embarassing moment are you willing to ‘boast’ about?
P.S. Be sure to take a second to go to the Prayer page and pray for the things that are listed (and maybe add any requests of your own).