Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Sizzle (05/02/13)
TITLE: A Sizzling Mistake
By Linda Berg
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It was our second year of missionary service in Mexico. We knew some of the Spanish language, but we weren’t really fluent.
One of the ministries that we directed was a ministry called, Pan de Vida or Bread of Life. This ministry was a feeding and teaching ministry for elementary age children. Every day the local school was in session, the children would walk to the nearby church building where they were fed a hot meal, taught the Word of God, sang praise songs, memorized scripture and learned to pray. Three times a year, the children would do a special program at the church building. This program was always for the purpose of inviting parents to the church. The women of the church always followed it up with a special meal prepared for everyone.
It was Easter Sunday of 1999. Children came streaming through the double doors, just three feet distance from the street that ran in front of the church building. Some had costumes, they had helped to make, slung over their arms. One girl dropped hers as she came through the door and the boy following behind her accidentally stepped on it. I saw her deep, dark eyes grow big as the tears gathered and threatened to spill over. I leaned down and put my arm around her. In my limited Spanish, while picking up and brushing at her costume, I told her she looked beautiful and it would be okay. She ran off, long hair bobbing behind her to the room where the children were gathering to prepare for their singing and drama.
I turned and followed quickly to the room where everyone was gathering. With all these children and the hubbub of excitement about their program, I thought the teachers might need help.
The room was buzzing with activity. Girls and boys were putting costumes on. Laughter was emanating from every corner. Giggly style laughter came from a group of first grade girls standing to my right. Loud bursts of hysteria indicated there was plenty of nervous tension in the room. Some of the children were singing bits of their resurrection song. The clock on the far wall indicated there was only five minutes until, “show time.”
The “maestra” began to call attention with one well known commanding word, “andale, andale.” The children began to gather around her, pressing in close. She tousled the hair of the little guy to her left then put her arm around him and pulled him to her. She raised her right arm up over her head and the room became quiet and void of little voices.
A final instruction was given from the teacher to the children and then there was a mass scramble as they began to line up in proper pre-planned order.
The antsy moves of the children while singing did not diminish one bit the beautiful message in song of the victory of Jesus resurrection. A loud round of applause filled the air at the completion of the drama. Everyone exited the auditorium for the specially prepared meal.
A week later, our mission staff meeting was held at our home. The mission director and his wife, and my husband and I were all present. Our agenda for the meeting included a time of prayer, going over the calendar, making reports to the director on our work and getting new assignments and then anything else that needed discussing. We were almost done with our meeting when the Director turned to me and said, “Linda, I really appreciate your efforts in the office. You are doing a great job with the correspondence and the newsletter. I am grateful you are making real effort to learn the Spanish language. However, I think you might need to bring your invitations, to be given to the Mexican people, to me for approval before they go out publicly.”
“Oh, did I do something wrong?” I felt a quizzical look spread across my face.
“The recent Easter program invitation sent home with the children to their parents, with the Spanish words you wrote actually meant, “Come and listen to your children sing and afterwards we will fry you up in a pan.”
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