Thursday, February 18, 2010

Speaking in tongues (sort of)

It used to be that we thought of foreign languages as something we’d use when we went overseas only. These days, people of all nationalities and languages are our neighbors. To be enriched by their cultures and and perspectives would be a blessing, but the language barrier is often in the way.

Over the last few months, I’ve been using my language skills again more than ever. Taking French calls at work. Speaking Spanish with friends, and learning Indian from co-workers. Learning Italian to help the little, old, Italian lady neighbor of mine who apparently has dementia and will ask anyone for a ride to Walmart in broken English. Learning Arabic from a friend from Baghdad. Refreshing myself on Japanese.

Because many people from other cultures don’t have the training to speak English yet, we have a golden opportunity to reach out to them on the most basic levels. When people see that we are trying to communicate in their language, it puts them at ease and encourages them to learn our language, too. We no longer have to go to the mission field—the mission field has come to us. Let’s step up to plate! Go love someone: learn a few words in their heart language!  Even if we stumble in our speech, a smile on our faces and a simple desire to bless them will translate into true care and friendship, and ultimately the love of Christ.

1 comment:

  1. "We no longer have to go to the mission field—the mission field has come to us."

    Yes! I saw this beginning to happen 25 years ago. The growth has been exponential - who could have known? I totally agree with your point about the little steps we all can take with so little effort on our part. It's never too late...verdad?