Today, when I was walking back from playing football, I realized an important truth about here… and I learned it quick. Today was the day that I learned there are times when I just need to keep my mouth shut! It was just after dusk which means it’s difficult to see others around unless their white like me. Therefore everyone sees me coming and I don’t see them until they are next to me. We just had some rain here which means the frogs are going to town with their amphibious orchestras (with the occasional cricket chirping in too!) I didn’t think anyone was around… then IT happened! What was IT? Well, while walking with my mouth open, a cricket decided to make a nice, cozy home… in my mouth! Fortunately, I spat him out before he unpacked his bags and got settled in but in that split second I had learned my lesson…of when to keep my mouth shut.

Oh, did you think I meant I said something bad? Well, at least I got your attention… and TRUST ME…with how many bugs are out right now this is still a VERY important lesson to learn.

But speaking of saying something… check out this text one of the teachers at school received from their niece (she’s a teacher too):


[If ur dead rest in peace

If ur sick get well soon

If ur in prison tell them dat you have a right to communicate

If ur okay you should be ashamed of your silence, gr8t aunt.]


When she first showed me this message I was a bit shocked that something would send such a terse text to someone…especially family! I mean who would send THAT to family? Why? Then I began to think about how big of a deal communication and family are to people in Tanzania. Here, if it’s been a while since you talked to a relative or friend, they will be sure to remind you!

Why don’t we talk as much as Tanzanians? Are we not ashamed of our silence? Or do we rather desire to do “our own thing” because it’s easier? Have we learned the lesson of keeping our mouths shut too well? One thing I’ve challenged myself to do here…and consequently… challenging you to do at home, work, school (anywhere really) is this: talk.

Try saying more than 7 words to your co-worker who you normally pass with a simple “hey” or “how’s it going?” Go a bit further and call a grandparent or a grandchild or your brother or your sister or even an old friend from college and simply: talk.

I believe, as I am learning here, they will appreciate the effort and the conversation/call more than you can imagine. Just TALK! Sit down with your kid, your spouse or your friend at the end of the day and just talk. Don’t have an agenda… don’t set a time limit… just offer your undivided attention to them and then see what happens! A lot of Scripture I’ve read recently focuses on relationships. Relationships with God such as:

“Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” –Deuteronomy 6:4-5

and relationships with other Scriptures such as:

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” –Acts 2:42-47

These Scriptures (as well as many more) all emphasize relationships via communication and that… is a TWO-WAY street! So I challenge you (and me!) with simply four letters:







I pray you don’t master the lesson of keeping your mouth shut but rather be ashamed of the conversational silence and do something about it. Talk. Listen. Learn.


And to quote one of my favorite movies…

“That’s what I’m talking about!!!”

-Jerry Stiller from Zoolander


“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” –Psalm 19:14