Tribal humor confusing, encourages passionate teaching

By March 26, 2008

Papua New Guinea (MNN) — It is usually assumed that a student who gives a wrong answer doesn't understand the subject matter.

However, missionaries Gary and Esther Smith found that that's not true for everyone. The New Tribes Mission couple is working in Papua New Guinea with the Diningat tribe. One night during a meeting with people of the tribe, it began to rain. 

According to the couple, the people of the tribe began to say that men from the other tribe had made it rain to mess up their time together. Dissapointed in the answer, the Smiths asked the tribe who they thought made the rain. The tribe answered that God made the rain. 

A bit confused as to how they could answer similar questions with such different answers, Gary asked them again if someone had made the rain happen. 

Again, the tribe answered, ‘Yes, someone over from the other village did that.'

Gary then asked them if they knew who is the owner of everything and in control of everything and they answered "God." However, when Gary asked if they thought man could control the weather they said, "! That's not true!"

Later, the Smiths found that the Diningats were giving contradicting answers on purpose.  "They do it to make us get fired up and teach more passionately! Ha! I guess it's their way of playing devil's advocate," wrote Gary. 

NTM asks that you pray that the desire of the Diningats to know more about God would continue. Pray that they would keep joking around and keep listening intently.

Leave a Reply