Bilingual Bloopers

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We were living in Petrozabodsk when my friend, Laura, came to visit. Conversing with my neighbor, she said that she had arrived Friday. But instead of saying “pyatnitsa” (Friday), she said “p’yanitsa” (drunk). She realized her mistake as soon as the words were out of her mouth, and we all smiled as she frantically exclaimed, “No, no! Not p’yanitsa, pyatnitsa! Pyatnisa!” —Amy, Russia

The new missionary told his congregation the story of the man with 100 bees. (They were puzzled; they had never read this story!) One bee was lost so the man left the 99 in the fold and searched for it. The man found his beloved bee with a hurt leg. He carefully wrapped it, gently placed the bee on his shoulder, and carried him home!  (Realizing the missionary’s mistake, they all smiled as they pictured […]

After lunch, the congregation spends time in Q&A about the morning message. People were stumped by a question about how long it took for Elijah to get to Mount Horeb, and several answered that it took three days. I spoke up, boldly saying, “si sip meu.” I mistakenly thought that meu in meu ni (today) and in meu ni wan (yesterday) meant day. Everyone laughed because I said that it took Elijah forty hands.

When our evangelist friend visited us, he preached through a translator. A story he told began like this: “I was out in the lake swimming with the water over my head.” Our translator stopped abruptly with a very confused look on his face. He could not understand how a person could be both out of the water and in the water. Even more, the water was, apparently, over the person’s head??? (James, Russia)

The new BIMI missionary in Japan, Ron White, was preaching about sin, or tsumi: “Tsumi are bad. Tsumi cause death. We need to get rid of our  tsumi!” But there was a big problem. He said tsuma instead of tsumi and was actually saying, “Wives are bad. Wives cause death. We need to get rid of our wives!”

A missionary preaching in Mexico City from the story of Hannah read where Hannah told her husband that she wouldn’t take the child Samuel up to the tabernacle until he was weaned. Instead of saying “destetado” (weaned), he said “destazado” (to chop up). It was even more hilarious when Elkanah responded, “Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have ‘chopped’ him.”