By Martha Wade
“Who are you sleeping with?” Sepa asked as he walked by the house at about 10 PM. I was tired and was just getting ready to turn off the lights and go to bed, but thankfully I was awake enough to realize what he was really asking. Earlier that day, Lindy Pate had left to hike to town and I was left without a “guardian” to make sure I was viewed as morally pure.
There had been a bit of a discussion among the girls in the village (probably because of my big playful Black Lab) and the problem had not been resolved until after dark. Thankfully, I was able to quickly tell Sepa – “Gertrude is staying with me!” Gertrude at the time was asleep in the spare bedroom, but I had to chuckle a bit. I never would have thought of my “guardian” kid as “sleeping with me” because the English idiom has a very negative meaning for a single celibate missionary.
In this culture, however, a single woman can’t stay by herself because it would be like hanging out the sign that says, “This is the home of a prostitute.” My “brother-in-law” was just looking out for my well being when he checked to make sure I had a girl sleeping at the house and that I hadn’t been left on my own.
Martha is a Bible translator and consultant serving the Apal language group.