Imitation can be the highest form of praise, but in some cases . . .
A new missionary recruit went to Venezuela for the first time. He was
struggling with the language and didn't understand a whole lot of what was
going on. Intending to visit one of the local churches, he got lost, but
eventually got back on track and found the place. Having arrived late, the
church was already packed. The only pew with a seat open was the one on the
So as not to make a fool of himself, this recruit decided to pick someone
out of the crowd to imitate. He chose to follow the man sitting next to him
on the front pew. As they sang, the missionary tried to follow along.
When the man stood up to pray, the missionary recruit stood up too. When
man sat down, he sat down. When the man took the cup and bread for the
Lord's Supper, he took the cup and bread. During the preaching, the recruit
didn't understand a thing. He just sat there and tried to look just like
that man in the front pew.
Then he perceived that the preacher was giving announcements. People
clapped, so he looked to see if the man was clapping. He was, and so the
recruit clapped too. Then the preacher said some words that he didn't
understand and he saw the man next to him stand up. So he stood up too.
Suddenly a hush fell over the entire congregation. A few people gasped.
He looked around and saw that nobody else was standing, so he sat down.
After the service ended, the preacher stood at the door shaking the hands
those who were leaving. When the missionary recruit stretched out his hand
to greet the preacher, the preacher said, in English: "I take it you don't
The missionary recruit replied: "No I don't. Is it that obvious?"
"Well yes," said the preacher, "I announced that the Acosta family had a
new-born baby boy and would the proud father please stand up."