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Thursday, October 1, 2009

What's In A Name?

Through the years various diplomats from a variety of nations have become members of our church. Many have been representatives of various African nations. We've known diplomats and ambassadors from Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Botswana, Eritrea, Congo, and Namibia. It has been a wonderful and unique glimpse into a different world. Because of our church affiliation with so many embassies we are often invited to National Day celebrations or celebrations of a nation's Independence.

Earlier this week, we received an invitation to the 49
th anniversary of Nigeria's independence. It is fun to attend these receptions. We run into church members who are delighted that we are there to celebrate their nation's big day. We chat with others who run in these circles. People are often decked out in their dazzling national dress and we enjoy the opportunity to socialize with folks from our church on "their turf."

The reason that this particular invitation caught my eye was due to the Ambassador's name. We've noticed through the years that Nigerians in particular have a penchant for naming their children adjectives that express the deep feeling that they have around the child's birth. So in our church we have a Great, a Precious, a Blessing, a Gracious, a Joy, a Destiny, a Mercy, etc. But I have to say that the name of the Nigerian Ambassador to Sweden takes the cake. The exact wording on the invitation was this:

On the occasion of the 49th Independence Anniversary of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Ambassador (Dr.) Godknows Boladei Igali and Mrs. Tokoni Igali cordially requests the pleasure of the company of Pastors Doug and Jodi Fondell.

Do you love it? Can you imagine being named Godknows?! There's a good story behind the why and the how a tiny little baby who grew up to be an ambassador was named Godknows. I suppose only God knows, but for today it made me smile. What's in a name? Perhaps more than we realize. (By the way...the national color of Nigeria is green, hence the green ink.)