Picture courtesy of Wesley Chappell

Wes and I went across the river to a village meeting today with a few hundred of our neighbors. The meeting was scheduled for 7am–we arrived around 10:30. After waiting an hour and a half for a quorum the agenda was read listing eight items, “the white guys” being the eighth. (I don’t know how we made the agenda except by arriving.) Item one consumed over an hour and, mercifully, we got bumped up to the second slot.

I took center stage for my first public speaking. In perfect Menyan* I told everyone my name, Elizabeth’s name, how many kids I have and that I left my home country of America to live in Menya where I’m working to learn their language and I built a house between Hoka and Edwin. Then (in Pidgin) I told them we are working hard so that we can tell them clearly without confusion what God’s word says.

Wes had a voice recorder running in his pocket accidentally. You can barely hear me speaking. I considered being embarrassed by my infantile performance until I remembered there are no more than three people in the world who have a computer to access this and understand what I’m saying–and one of them witnessed the live performance. So enjoy: public-speaking

*I’m assuming my Menyan was perfect because no one shouted out corrections while I was speaking. I will maintain this assumption until explicitly corrected.


  1. Did you say, “Wah woo wah woo”?

    That’s all I got.

    • Jim W

      I heard someone repeat “Wah woo wah woo.” Sounds like they were in agreement. Of course, they could have, just as easily, been asking the person next to them, “What is ‘wah woo wah woo’?” In either case, way to go! I have enough fear of public speaking when I have full command of the language.

  2. Mom O

    Way to go! Is that encouragement that I hear from the crowd?

  3. Bob

    Guess my pidgin is a bit weak… I only understood “Elizabeth”.

  4. dan

    freakin awesome

  5. Jason

    you sounded like a laid back tribal chieftain to me.

What do you think?