Oroko in church

Tragic events last Sunday were nevertheless used for good. The pastor and some of the church leadership were out of the village for conferences; the man left in charge of the service in their absence had a family crisis (wife gave birth to stillborn child); so the sermon was dumped on Dan’s lap with one hour’s notice Sunday morning.

Undaunted, he got creative and the church reaped the benefit. He read the first part of Joseph’s story, slightly paraphrased, in Oroko and had Mr. Mosongo (his neighbour, a retired headmaster, member of the translation team, and respected village elder) translate into Pidgin for non-Oroko speakers in church. The message then was an interactive series of questions given in Oroko by Dan, and in Pidgin by Mr. Mosongo.

Church was pretty empty that morning, but the response to the new style was remarkable. People were more awake than I’ve ever seen, and though they usually gave answers in Pidgin, there was a level of enthusiasm for the discussion and of engagement with the subject that I have never seen in response to the Pidgin Sunday school lessons or sermons.

A far more effective “wake up and listen to what I’m saying” technique that Dan used was to repeat or rephrase the question in Oroko when he seemed to be losing his audience; this worked much better to jolt people back into attention than the “Hell-ohh” the pastor and other leadership usually use.

It was really exciting to see the people’s response to hearing the word of God in their own language, in their “country talk”.


Popular Posts