How’s Africa? (What Not to Ask a Missionary)

What to Say to MissionaryNo, you did NOT just ask me how a whole continent is doing, did you? What do I say?

This is a really tough question to answer. There’s so much to say, and the person asking might not really be interested, or is asking just in passing, else they wouldn’t have just asked how a whole continent of more than 55 countries is doing. It’s like saying, not just, “How’s the USA?”, but “How’s North America?”

So one day for fun, our teammates bandied around some fun facetious responses to our favorite question so that next time, we’d be prepared–not giving a slack-jawed, deer-in-the-headlights look.

Question: “How’s Africa?”

Potential Answers:

“Oh, great!”

“Really. hot.”

“Fine, how are you?”

“Would you like a long or short answer to that?”

“Do you really want to get into this?”

“Well, Africa is a continent of over 55 countries and a billion people, so I’m not sure where to start.”

“One of Africa’s countries, Zimbabwe, is one of the poorest countries in the world with a corrupt, crazy dictator who will not give up control. Other countries are Muslim and do not allow evangelism. So I guess if you count them, Africa’s not doing so great. Pass the butter, please.”

“Similar in a lot of ways to America.”

“Bad. But we’re trying.”

“Filled with churches that love money more than Jesus.”

Bonus. (with a kind smile) “How can I possibly answer such a huge question?”

Fellow missionaries, have you gotten this question? What have you said? (or wanted to say) 🙂

About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and homeschooling mother of five children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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4 Responses to How’s Africa? (What Not to Ask a Missionary)

  1. Tammy Doiel says:

    So are you saying I can’t ask Nathan Washer that from Zambia when he comes to our missions conference? Now what am I going to say! 🙂

  2. A Servant says:

    I am always honored to connect with those who have answered the call.
    Regarding your post, I can at least relate to what you were kind enough not to call “dumb questions”. Thoughtless questions, like the disciples asking “who is the greatest” have been around forever.
    Thank you for being willing to follow the Lord’s call. May God lift you up when the way seems difficult.
    A Servant

  3. jenmarie33 says:

    Love it! I always got asked “how’s Russia?” whenever I came back from living there. It’s like how do you answer that? And would anyone really even understand when I answer anyway? And where to even start? The people? My personal experience?…..I love it when people ask good, specific questions that are a bit more answerable.

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