If you were to pop into one of MAF’s many bases this time of year, you would undoubtedly be welcomed with a hearty season’s greeting. However, depending on which base you were to arrive, that warm tiding might sound a little different …
Visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo and you would hear “Joyeux Noel!” French is the official language of that country, however if you were to talk to a Congolese person in a more relaxed setting you might be met with “Mbotama Malamu” in the trade language of Lingala.
Fly into one of MAF’s Indonesian bases and be greeted by “Selamat Hari Natal.” Indonesian is the official language of that country … but visit any part of this nation of islands and you could hear one of the 700 languages currently spoken in Indonesia!
People in Mozambique say “Boas Festas” and you would probably hear a simple “Happy Christmas” in Lesotho. Visit most of MAF’s South American programs and hear “Feliz Navidad” except in Brazil where you would hear the slightly different “Feliz Natal” in Portuguese.
Finish off your world tour in my birthplace, Scotland, and by chance you might hear “Nollaig Chridheil” in Scottish Gaelic—however the English “Merry Christmas” is much more likely.
In every country MAF serves, “Merry Christmas” sounds a little different. Yet, this good tiding of great joy is the same for all people from Kalimantan, Indonesia to Shell Mera, Ecuador. Two thousand years ago, God sent His Son into this dark world on a cold, winter’s night to be born in a dingy stable. This baby Jesus, surrounded by shepherds and farm animals, would be the most lavish gift mankind could ever receive … A gift that, two millennia later, would see people in countries across the world commemorating His humble birth by greeting each other with Mbotama Malamu, Joyeux Noel, Feliz Navidad, and Merry Christmas.
May the joy of Our Lord and Savior fill your homes and hearts this Christmas. And from all of us at MAF … Selamat Hari Natal and to all a good night!