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When I was 15 years old, I worked my butt off to save $900 to go on a missionary trip to the Dominican Republic. There were about twenty-four of us, and some adults, in total. It was a wonderful time, and I have some great memories of the trip, even despite the fact that seven of our clowns got sick. I had to don a clown's suit, over all black clothing, (for the last serious drama I was part of) and do four extra skits, in addition to drawing a crowd and dancing at the beginning of the show. All of this was in tempertature well exceeding 100 degrees Farenheit in the shade. As I was saying, it was a lovely trip.

One of the most interesting things about this trip, was some very subtle differences in the Spanish language that caused a great deal of confusion on both parts, in particular, to the poor Dominicans. I had had about 1 or 2 years of Spanish in high school, by this point, and few other people had much more experience, yet we all tried our very best to talk as much as we could in Spanish. One thing I had never noticed, until we arrived, was how similar the words pecado, and pescado were. Allow me to demonstrate:

pecado			sin
pescado			fish
pecador			sinner
pescador		fisher
peca			to sin; sinning
pesca			to fish; fishing

Normally, this would not be too much of a problem. Most people would be able to tell by the context, which word you were referring to, however, in the case of missionaries, the results can be disastrous. In the New Testament, Jesus quite frequently makes use of analogies involving fish. As an example, there is a verse in Matthew that says:

Matt 4:18-19

And Jesus, walking * by the sea of Galilee, saw * two
brethren, Simon called Peter,and Andrew his brother,
casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  And
he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers
of men.

Perhaps you can see the problem here. Often, people would confuse the two words so that the results would be something like:

Matt 4:18-19

And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren,
Simon called Peter,and Andrew his brother, casting a net
into the sea: for they were sinners.  And he saith unto
them, Follow me, and I will make you sinners of men.

A subtle difference, but very confusing. Take the following phrases, and their translation with this common mistake:

Jesus came to take away the sins of the world.
Jesus came to take away the fish of the world.

John 8:7 - " . . .He who is without sin, let him cast the
first stone . ."
John 8:7"He who is without fish, let him cast the first
stone . ."

The time has come for the sinners to repent.
The time has come for the fishers to repent.

Romans 6:15 - What then? shall we sin, because we are not
under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Romans 6:15 - What then? shall we fish, because we are not
under the law, but under grace? God forbid.


I can only hope that those poor Dominicans were not confused to death, by the good intentions of our speakers.

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