I am forever amazed at how obliquely polite people can be in Uganda. Tonight, a student asked me to preach at the leadership handover for his fellowship on Sunday, which I am honored and delighted to accept. But naturally, he couldn’t just ask. The conversation went something like this:
Joseph: Reverend, I am inviting you with my mouth [not with a letter, as is the norm] to come speak to at the handover for my fellowship Sunday evening.
Me: Thank you so much for the invitation, Joseph; I’m honored, and would love to come.
(pause for me thinking)
Me: Is this an official function? Are you going to want me to wear my collar?
Joseph: Well, of course.
(pause for me thinking: if I’m being invited and this is a function, I am likely required to make a speech)
Me: Will I be making a speech?
Joseph: Yes; our theme is Romans 8:37.
(pause for me thinking: theme… this sounds like a sermon (which are common at fellowships))
Me: Is this a sermon, or a speech?
Joseph: It’s a speech.
(pause for me to peer at Joseph)
Me: Are you sure?
Joseph: Yes, Reverend. It’s a speech.
Me: But the theme is a Bible verse, so this sounds a lot like a sermon.
Joseph: Well, yes, it’s a sermon.
Me: So how long is this sermon?
Joseph: About 15 minutes (which I suspect really means closer to 30 than to 15, which is fine).
Thus, I am the guest of honor and preacher at the fellowship handover Sunday evening. See how easy that was?