Journaling in Distant Lands: Will the Real Papis Sane Please Stand Up

100_0683This is Papis Sane… and this is Papis Sane. These guys are twins with the same name; at least at heart. Somewhere lagging but not an incredibly far distance behind getting to see our beloved family of missionaries in Senegal, I would rank of my favorite things meeting this man whose namesake I would bear. Meeting him will make a lifelong impact on my journey with Jesus.

Still a good week out from our journey to Senegal, Matt sent an informative message sharing with us that we needed something desperately before we traveled; new names.


He explained that names like Joe, Joey, Ethan, and yes, mt, made no sense in a land like Senegal. We would have to be given names that the people could relate to. So we were.

And I will give him a white stone with a new name written on it. Revelation 2:17

When I was first given the privilege of sharing with Papis that my name was Papis, his eyes lit up with joy that I only wish I could have captured and shared with the world. This reaction, by the way, would be repeated every time a team member introduced themselves to their namesake.

100_0841However, as cool as it was for everyone to reveal their identities to their namesakes, mine was something personally special, because Papis is one of only a couple of professing believers in the village we visited. If both our professions are sincere then we really are twins in a sense; in Christ.

For you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

There is a custom in the distant land of our travel known as ‘giving your guest the road.’ How cool it would be to learn of this custom in America.

100_0852First, let me explain that visiting guests aren’t permitted to pop in for momentary visits, then move on. These visits with neighbors or even strangers walking by a yard are lengthy because the host will not allow their guests to leave. Imagine visiting someone’s home and every time you tried to leave they came up with a reason why you shouldn’t; convincing reasons, like “I don’t want you to, or, stay a little longer… someone is coming to see you.”

Folks, we’re talking long visits; hours, and then more hours. The hours are spent sometimes in conversation, but often in just staring uncomfortably at one another. Meals and tea, fruits and nuts, along with gifts and such are spread out through the day’s visit. Then, when finally a good enough reason to go home convinces the host, the custom of giving the guest the road kicks in. The custom of giving your guest the road prompts the host to travel a portion of the journey back home with the visitor.

When anyone compels you to go one mile… go two miles. Matthew 5:41

Papis, my namesake, was not the host during most of our time in Diouloulou, but he always walked with us, not just for a portion of the trip back to our rooms, but all the way to our rooms. I should mention that we didn’t stay across the street from Matt’s home… it was a pretty long walk.

DSCN6134There is also the matter of dispensing with some western pride. We American men have grown beyond those things we prefer to define as feminine gestures, such as touching one another with any more than a brisk handshake; not so in the distant land. Early on in our visit, my namesake put forth the attempt to hold my hand as we walked. Yes, I was very uncomfortable with this, and inquired of Matt. It too is a very acceptable custom in Africa for men to hold hands.

Before you make too many jests though, might I remind you of some pretty tough dudes we have recorded in Scripture, Jesus and John, of the two we are told,

He then lying on Jesus’ breast said to him… John 13:25

I’ve already told you this man’s influence will have made a mark on my life forever, with his smiles and generosity, it should be no surprise that I would succumb to the culture and walk proudly holding the hand of a man whose name I had borrowed for a season.

100_1239On the night before our departure, Papis would visit one final time. He would bring a gift; one I will always treasure.

It was my friend and pastor who asked the question, but it was coursing my mind also. How could Papis afford such a gift?

Matt’s words in answer to the question were humbling, “He didn’t buy this gift for you, he gave it from his own wardrobe.”

If anyone would have your tunic, give him your cloak also. Matthew 5:40

100_1236The gift is known as a Boubou, sort of dressy attire for I assume special occasions. It is a beautiful white garment with garnet and gold trim.

…he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness. Isaiah 61:10

I hope to one day see my friend Papis again. Along with our friends who serve faithfully in the distant land, I pray consistently for Papis. I pray that his entire family will come to know and love Jesus, whose his acts of kindness to me resembled so much.

The real Papis Sane has stood up and the one who borrowed his name for a brief visit has taken a knee. Bless you good friend.

About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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5 Responses to Journaling in Distant Lands: Will the Real Papis Sane Please Stand Up

  1. hollyann317 says:

    This is such an amazing story; it brought tears to my eyes! You are a very good writer too!

  2. Wow that was so wonderful Mike, what beautiful people and how kind and Loving of you to go beyond your own comfort zone and hold Papis’ hand in friendship and in your common bond in The Lord.

    No doubt I would fit in well over there, some say I don’t want to leave a Blog with my comments being so long but I feel convicted and lead in what I share and I believe like you showed Mike with Papis, regardless of what we are use to, we welcome others who may be different because we genuinely Love them, but I’m sure if Papis had ignored you or been rude to you, we would not be reading this message, you would have been hurt, praise The Lord these people and you Mike have genuine Love for others.

    Now down to some serious discussion, do they have Boubous in woman’s sizes???

    Christian Love from us both – Anne

    • mtsweat says:

      Thanks Anne. May your day be blessed with bountiful boubous. That just doesn’t sound right, does it? 🙂

      Blessings good friend.

  3. ccragamuffin says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart and for sharing Papis Sane…I feel like I have walked with him and held his hand. I am stopping right now to pray for his family and for the village of Karongue right now. That the Lord will show them His way, and teach them His paths, and guide them in His truth…that they will be surrounded with songs of deliverance.

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