As I mentioned last week, my friend Danny came to visit us last weekend. We were able to spend Saturday afternoon and evening and Sunday morning and afternoon with him. Also, since Danny and I went to Ethiopia together, we decided to take Danny to an Ethiopian restaurant in Raleigh.
Several days before our trip to the Ethiopian restaurant, I decided to brush up on my Amharic words and phrases. While doing that, I found the journal that I took with me to Ethiopia, and I read through it. I had written down something that happened while we were there that I have not shared on my blog… until now.
Often, while we were sitting around with our Ethiopian friends, they would be teaching us Amharic words and phrases. Once, while comparing languages, I started teaching Nigussie (my primary translator) how to count to five in Spanish. I would say, “Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco,” and Nigussie would repeat. We did this over and over again until he knew how to count to five in Spanish.
About that time, our host’s seven year old daughter, Rani, came into the room. (Rani is in the picture above between Danny and her brother Tacu.) Rani heard Nigussie counting in Spanish and ran over to him. She asked what he was doing, and when he explained, she said that she wanted to learn also. So, Nigussie began to teach Rani how to count to five in Spanish. Yes, Nigussie had just learned to count to five in Spanish, but he was now teaching Rani.
Rani was a quick learner. She learned to count to five in Spanish very quickly. Once she could remember the words, she ran over to one of her friends and immediately began to teach her how to count to five in Spanish. It had been less than 10 minutes since I started teaching Nigussie, but we were already seeing a second generation disciple teaching a third generation disciple.
When Rani’s friend learned to count to five, she turned to Rani and asked, “So, how do you say six, seven, eight, nine, and ten?” (Of course, Rani’s friend asked this in Amharic.) Rani thought for a second, then ran back to Nigussie, and asked him how to count from six to ten in Spanish. Then, Nigussie turned to me, and I began to teach him the numbers, “Seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez.”
Think about this story for a moment. Can you see how this applies to discipleship? Can you see how quickly someone can both learn how to live for Christ and to help others live for Christ in this manner?
The first generation disciple (Nigussie) did not wait until he knew everything before he started discipling someone else (Rani). Then the second generation disciple (Rani) immediate began to train another disciple (her friend).
Also, I thought it was interesting that the desire for more discipleship did not come from the original disciple (me). Instead, it came from one of the new disciples.
What do you think about this story and its illustration of discipleship?