Naming Ceremony!

Naming Ceremony!


Shortly after arriving in the village (January) where my son and his family lived, the elders began preparing for the naming ceremony.  The rice and beans were sorted (had to make sure no tiny stones or grit was present).

We understood the honor that was being bestowed upon my little grandson, and we were deeply touched. For my son and his team, it meant acceptance and that’s everything when your heart’s desire is for these people to understand who Jesus is.

Many words were spoken that I did not understand but when my son stood up and spoke using the language of the people, I knew that he was expressing gratitude and respect for the people who had allowed  his family and his team to come among them and be accepted by them.

Choosing the bull!

Choosing the bull!



Wow, what a day!  I videoed most of the ceremony.  It was a day long event.  The bull was brought up and killed.  Bobby drove in the first spear.  He went down 4 times before he finally gave it up.  I videoed all that but when the skinning and cutting started, I opted to close down my video camera.

During the naming ceremony, my son and a couple of the elders gave a short speech. Of course, I didn’t understand any of what was spoken but I was deeply impressed with my son’s speech for he spoke using the local language.  I have to admit  my eyes clouded up as I watched this ceremony unfold.

The next part was the women’s charge.  For some reason the women rubbed butter all over the exposed parts of their body, and gave my daughter-in-law some bracelets and a necklace.  I later learned the significance of the butter was to assist my grandson’s in accepting his name.  In English his name means Hunger, and White with very Small Spots.  The first name had to do with the time (dry season and little food available) and the 2nd name described the bull that was sacrificed.

Next the meat was cooked along with the rice, beans, and a tasteless concoction made from corn meal called posho.  They stood in a long line waiting their turn to eat.  First the elders, then the women, lastly the children.  The comment was made that even the children would eat today.  Each brought a container be it a plastic pitcher, plastic bag, or tin can.  However, the elders got to eat out of the plastic bowls in my daughter-in-law’s kitchen. I suppose that sometimes the food runs out before the children get to eat.  But not this day, for there was plenty.




Once the ceremony was complete the fun part of the celebration began.  All gathered in the open area in front of the compound.  Even though there were no musical instrument, the blending of the people’s voices made for a very energetic and happy type of sound.  Of course, that familiar African trill (seemingly only done by the women) could easily be heard.  And to the beat and energy of the voices, the people added their characteristic jumping.  And believe me, they seem to defy gravity when it comes to how high they can jump. ( I regret I don’t have a better picture.)


Let the dancing begin!

Let the dancing begin!


I learned a lot about the importance of accepting and showing respect for one’s culture that day of the naming ceremony.  These people have pretty much been rejected by outsiders, like us and even their own countrymen. But when my son and his team entered that village one day bringing their families with them, establishing their homes among them, and set about learning their language and culture (so they could better communicate and understand them), these people slowly began letting down their guard.  As the trust level was built, and genuine honor and respect was displayed for the locals, then they became open to hearing about the God that these white men and women wanted to tell them about.

As the parent of a missionary knowing that your child’s obedience ‘to go’ and your responsibility ‘to release your child’ is responsible for expanding God’s kingdom to a people many have rejected offers the solace that’s needed when these sacrifices are made.

When I begin struggling with the separation anxiety of being so far away from my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson, I have discovered time and time again that if I focus on Jesus and the work my precious ones are doing in His name, my peace returns.  Here’s a few of the verses that sustain me.

This will not overwhelm me.

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. Lam. 3:22-23  

If I keep my focus, I’ll know peace.

“You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you.” Isaiah 26:3

Filling my mind with happy thoughts trumps the negative thoughts.

“Finally, brothers and sisters whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”  Philippines 4:8

There are many more verses that God has used to strengthen me and offer me comfort as I make this life journey with my son.  And because God has been so faithful to daily give me what I need for this journey, I have found that I do get overwhelmed!

Sometimes, when I think of the glory God is receiving as His kingdom is being expanded through the efforts of the team my son serves with, then, yes, I can get a bit overwhelmed.  And that’s a joy that no words can express.