Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Foreign Language (12/09/10)
TITLE: The Language of Love (ii)
By Beth Tilson
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I was a little nervous about how this would work, because our people group was very primitive and illiterate. They had no written language, and were dependent on oral teaching for everything they learned. In addition, they had very little access to or awareness of the world outside their immediate area. I was concerned that the cultural and educational barriers might be too much for a lot of meaningful communication to occur.
Once we arrived in the village and began meeting the people, I realized that some of my fears had merit. Although our translators appeared to be at ease with the villagers, it was still difficult to talk with people that I had just met through a third person. There were some painful pauses while either the translators or I searched for just the right words to make ourselves understood. But because we knew that God had called us there and we knew He was in control, we struggled on and continued to share His Word.
We spent four nights camped just outside the village fences, and on one night God taught me a lesson about language that I will never forget. Shortly before dark, two women came to our camp from the village, rubbing their stomachs. The two missionaries with us were worried, because they thought the women were hungry, and asking for food. We could not share what we had because Nigerians cannot tolerate a lot of processed American foods.
One of our translators, who we called John, went to the women, and asked what they needed. Their response was that their stomachs were sick, and they knew the white people would pray for them, and help them get better. John came to me and asked if I would pray for them, and he would translate as I prayed. I was more than willing! As I prayed, John translated, and every time he finished, they would nod. I don’t even remember what I said, but I remember them nodding and murmuring after every phrase. And I listened in amazement as I heard them began to quietly sniffle and cry.
When we were finished, they hugged me, and thanked me, and hugged me again. I was overwhelmed with the peace and power that had filled those moments. God reminded me that although we have different languages on Earth, and call them foreign when they are not ours, in spiritual matters we all speak the same language – the language of love. The rest of the trip I was able to relax and trust that He was our true interpreter, and that all He needed me to do was speak His truth, and He would take care of the rest.
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