The Blog of WEC USA

A Linguistical Pot Pourri

From Kathy Lewis

Greetings from sunny Brikama, Gambia! We’re in the middle of the dry season, so it hasn’t rained in about four months. The nights are cool enough to make sleeping comfortable, but midday out in the sun can be pretty scorching. When the wind blows, everything gets covered with dust.

Things at our church here are going well. Our small congregation has combined with another group, so we now have more people on a typical Sunday. This combination has presented some amount of awkwardness in that the new people are native speakers of a different language. As a result we now have bits of the service in even more languages. On a particularly diverse Sunday we may sing songs in English, Mandinka and Balanta. Then the sermon is preached in English by a native Dutch speaker, translated into Fula and Portuguese Creole, with prayers in English, Manjako and Fula.

This situation sounds crazy, and I’m sure it wouldn’t work if the group were a lot larger, but so far we’re managing pretty well. I’m in the preaching rotation and give the main message once a month. I’m finding that I learn as much as the congregation when I speak since I have to look at familiar scripture from a very different viewpoint. The service is quite informal. Often other people add comments after the message, leading to interesting discussions!

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