Friday, May 15, 2009

Confused - Let your "Yes" be "No" and Your "No" be "Yes"

I told you yesterday that I am in Sofia, Bulgaria. It is my first visit here. I really like being here. Very interesting culture. I like the people here. The coffee is also good!. On the plane from Germany to Bulgaria I sat next to a guy who lives in Minnesota. He is from Bulgaria. He has lived in the States for almost 8 years. He has lived in Atlanta, New Jersey, New York City and Orlando. He now lives in Minnesota. He likes the opportunity to work in the states though he misses home and family. He did not know one word of English before he arrived 8 years ago (I know how he feels). He was coming back to his home for the first time in 2 years.

We were able to talk about many things. I was reading the book "Re-Jesus" by Alan Hirsch so we had a really good spiritual conversation. He comes from a Bulgarian Orthodox background but is not connected to a church now. He wrote down a few words for me in Bulgarian and I still cannot pronounce them. I am not really a linguistic expert. smile. He also gave me an interesting tid-bit. He said that to shake you head like we Americans shake when we say "no" means "yes" and if you shake your head like you are shaking "yes" it can be "no." I needed to try this out. You have many opportunities to shake your head when travelling. So I did not have to be real intentional about it. When you are asked something you usually go with a natural response.

Yes, I want a coffee.
No, I do not want to buy that. etc..
I also found that you rather naturally shake your head or use non-verbal gestures.

We had some Gypsies who were asking for money near our hotel. We see them each time we go out the door. They were following us all the way down the street. Then it occurred to me as I was shaking my head "no" that they may be thinking I was saying "yes". So I found out that I needed to watch that and reverse my thinking and my gestures. It works much better this way. Understanding your culture is important. I have much to learn here.

Changing topics

- You know one of the initiative that I am involved in with The Upstream Collective is something called The Skybridge Community. It is where we want to see people come to Europe and work in the marketplace and live out their lives missionally here in these cities. We have people who are part of this community who are already working here. We also have some who are trying to get jobs or opportunities to be here in business, internships or Study Abroad programs. What has been really cool this week is that two of the people who have been looking for work here in Europe found jobs this week. Yea God!!

In my next post I will talk about some opportunities here in Sofia. They could really use some churches to sense a calling to work here. I also sense that this could be a good city to work in as a business professional and also make a huge impact as a follower of Jesus. Let me know at if you want more information.

1 comment:

Jeff Whitfield said...

Your English is beginning to improve though, Larry! : )