Public Speaking in Hausa

What a rich morning!

A few weeks ago, we met a pastor who serves a church here in Jos that is part of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) denomination. He invited us to his church sometime, with lunch following. The only catch was that he was pastor of their Hausa service, which comes after two English services. So, in order to maximize our time there, he said we should come to the 8 a.m. English service, stay for the 10 a.m. Hausa service, and then join him and his wife for lunch—whew! We decided that it could be a good experience, so we took him up on his offer and we were really blessed yesterday morning.

The church was quite large—the sanctuary seats more than 1,000 people—and welcomed us warmly. Between services we went to the pastor’s house (on the same compound) for a glass of water, and as we were returning for the Hausa service, he informed me (Chris) that they will have a time of prayer during the service for our work, as well as for a group from their church that was taking a mission trip to Cameroon. During that time, he would expect us to greet the congregation and say a few words. Note to our readers: Keep in mind that this was the Hausa service…you know, that language in which we took a six-week course and in which we are unable to carry on any sort of conversation after the greetings finish.

The time came and we were called to the front. (Of course, the invitation was in Hausa and it wasn’t until I realized that everyone was looking at me that I was supposed to go up to the platform.) Conveniently, Christie was out in the parking lot feeding Judah, leaving me to go up on stage by myself. Since we had been sitting near the front of the church, it wasn’t until I got on stage and turned around to look at the congregation that I realized how many hundreds of people were actually there (the pastor guessed 1,200). Up to that point I had been rehearsing what words to use, and the Lord brought to mind everything that I had wanted to say—that was a blessing.  (Granted, it was only something like four sentences, but still…)

And then they (because at this point there are about six pastors on stage with me, along a representative of the group going to Cameroon) told me to kneel down. Realizing that they were putting me in an awkward position, I hesitated and then eventually kneeled. At that point, Christie appeared out of nowhere—someone had found her and told her “they are looking for you” and brought her up to the front.

So there we were, all three of Those Winklers kneeling on a stage in Jos, Nigeria, being prayed for in Hausa, in front of more than a thousand people. All that capped by a yummy Nigerian lunch with the pastor and his wife, and we had a very rich morning.


9 thoughts on “Public Speaking in Hausa

  1. Love it! You know what they say…as a mish you have to be ready at any moment to preach, pray or die!!! As soon as I read that you had been invited to the church, I knew what was coming…you would be expected to give greetings. Good for you for rising to the challenge. I wish we had a pciture of the pastors gathered around the Kneeling Winklers and praying for you. That is so good. The body of Christ at work internationally and interdependently.

  2. This was good. Chris I could just picture you and Christie with Judah at the front of the church, and all the Pastors and people. What a blessing from the Holy Spirit for you and your family. Also
    Chris I’m sure you did great giving the greeting. Oh, many times there are perks to motherhood. Like being in the parking lot. 🙂

  3. Amen. Bless the Lord O my soul for rich mornings for the Winklers in Jos. That is good news friends. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Brought tears to my eyes! A blessing for the blessed! God knows the timing! And if I know Christie (and I do…) she timed that parking lot feeding! LOL

  5. Wow, what an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work through you to bring a blessing to all of you and so many of your new friends. We are all ONE in the spirit.

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  7. Yeah, it was a good time and still a fond memory from our first few months in Jos.

    Mary–you’re right, I have so many friends here who speak at least two languages (and most of our Nigerian friends speak at least three). I’ve got English down pretty well, struggling with Hausa and still some German leftover from high school and college. Christie is excellent with pig latin.

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