Orthodox Christian Mission Center’s Blog

July 15, 2011

Pentecost: An Update from Missionary Katherine Wilcoxson

Pentecost

“…they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.”

“Pole Sana”

It means “very sorry.” This is the only phrase in Kiswahili that expresses sympathy for anything. In English there are so many different ways to express your sympathy. We even have sympathy greeting cards. There are also lots of physical ways of showing your sympathy for someone. Hugs are a big one, especially for me. I have always felt hugs were one of the best ways to show someone your sympathy or your love.

But I can’t do that in Tanzania. Women don’t even hug other women–and hugging someone of a different gender is a big taboo. People do shake hands in Tanzania, but hold your left hand on your right elbow while you’re doing that. If you are an Orthodox Christian you might even say: “Furaha na Amani” (joy and peace), but it has been a struggle for me to find ways to show my love for others without hugging.

But, thanks be to God, on Pentecost, the Apostles, broke through this barrier and all other communication barriers through the power of the Holy Spirit. Now it’s possible to communicate and love and even show sympathy across different languages and cultures.

But learning exactly how to do that is my Pentecost challenge. So please pray that the Holy Spirit will give me the wisdom and the guidance I need.

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