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By Rita Vernoy If anyone asked me for my opinion (like I'd wait to be asked!) on what it takes to be a career missionary, I would answer, “Blood, sweat and tears!” It takes years to learn a language and a culture well. A language is picked up long before the culture is truly understood. In most cases, the missionary can attend a language school to learn a rudimentary knowledge of the language, but there is no classroom to learn the culture. When learning a tribal language, one must become childlike and follow people around and try to imitate sounds without a clue as to their meaning. Eventually, one will begin to hear the different indi- vidual sounds and can transcribe…well, that's another whole story! It is much more time-consuming and the culture, of course, is totally alien to the western mind. To learn a culture is an important task for the missionary and it takes time, and, as I said, “Blood, sweat and tears!” BLOOD? Yeah! The cultural way of dealing with death has to be learned. One has to find out their way of mourning and caring for the dead. This can be very different in each culture. I remember the first time I was invited to a “funeral” in the Sanema tribe. I walked to the village and found a spot around the huge fire being built. The women were screaming and crying and slapping themselves in despair. I saw them bring out the body wrapped in its hammock and I saw them place the Sanema woman at her cookpot