La Santa Biblia and immediately had to begin
preparing sermons for four messages a week. He
spoke Spanish fairly well, but still had to put a lot
of time and effort into sermon preparation. This
was only a few months after finishing language
school. One Sunday he stood to deliver the sermon to
the congregation. His sermon was a well thought
out, very well developed, easy three point outline
with good illustrations to emphasize his points.
The subject matter of the sermon was “Pride.”
For 30 minutes he delivered his sermon on
“Pride.” He railed on the congregation to search
out pride wherever it might be found in our
lives. God abhors pride and there is no place for
pride in the Christian's life. As I said, it was a
The problem was that the congregation was
not responsive. Actually, they were responding,
but not appropriately! Many people were
grinning ear to ear. Others were obviously trying
not to laugh out loud. Some chose to look down
at their feet for the entire sermon, with their
shoulders shaking with silent mirth! The youth
of the congregation were outright laughing.
After the service my husband was
disheartened with the spirit of the congregation.
He told me he knew he had been led to speak
against Pride and did not understand the
problem with the people. I had to tell him... for
30 minutes he had orated not against Pride (the
Spanish word is Orgullo) but rather against
Squirrels! (the Spanish word is Ardilla)!
The mental pictures were quite funny!
Christians hunting out squirrels and killing
them! God hating squirrels! No room for squirrels
in the Christian's life! A real riot!
The following week my husband did not want
to preach!! He was embarrassed about the sermon
of the week before; however, being the pastor, he
had to swallow his squirrels and preach anyway!
Story written by Rita Vernoy
Through blunders like these, a missionary is
able to learn to communicate the eternal Gospel
in the language of the people. It is a message
of eternal importance in the hands or tongues
of fallible creatures. I believe that because of
the importance of the Gospel, God uses the
lessons of humility to teach His servants to also
speak the language of love. Though I speak with
the tongues of men and of angels, and have not
charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a
tinkling cymbal (I Corinthians 13:1).
Later on in that same chapter Paul states that
love is above all the gifts of the Spirit and above
all works that we might do for others. When a
missionary visits with the neighbor to practice
his new language and the preschooler corrects
the foreigner's grammar or giggles at his accent
and vocabulary, humility is the only reaction
if he hopes to retain the chance to witness and
share the Gospel of Christ. God wants humble
servants who will know that it is Jesus Christ
who builds the church and the Holy Spirit who
gives the increase.
Arrogance or pride will destroy the
missionary, so he needs to swallow his squirrels.
Pray for your missionaries in Language School
(see page 25).