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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Foreign Language (12/09/10)

TITLE: No Translation Needed
By Marlene Bonney


It was that time of year again—when, all over the United States, churches were participating in outreach giving programs. Our church was preparing Christmas boxes for children around the world, and I was in charge. Gail and Rita, George and Marta helped load the one hundred gaily holiday-wrapped boxes in the van after our final packing session.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could actually meet and talk with the children receiving these presents?” I wondered, aloud.

“Yes, of course. But, even if we could afford to go to Brazil or Finland or Africa or wherever, there would always be the language barrier,” practical Marta reminded us.

The following Sunday, Pastor Ashworth closed his sermon on “The Language of Love” with a video clip of Franklin Graham’s Shoebox Ministry. Our hearts were warmed as we watched children of many countries and nationalities opening the Christmas packages filled with various toys, goodies, personal hygiene items, school supplies and more. Each child had one thing in common—a wide smile or toothless grin, accompanied by words of gratitude overflowing from their hearts.

Their languages were foreign to most of us, but their smiles needed no translation.


Later that same week, countries watched newscasts from a foreign land where a natural disaster had claimed many lives. Homes were destroyed, families were separated, and devastation reigned. Interviews with survivors needed no translation for the viewers . . .

Their language was foreign to most of us, but their tears needed no translation.

A famous opera is being performed to an audience who does not understand Italian, but they recognize passion and romance and become strangely moved by the singing and acting . . .

Their language is foreign to most of them, but their ardent expressions need no translation.

Mourners from all over the world speak their thoughts at the memorial service of a world-renowned evangelist . . .

Their languages are unknown to each other, but their tears and condolences need no translation.

Two strangers meet on foreign soil and are drawn together by the common bond of grief from a plane crash tragedy . . .

Their language is foreign to each other, but their sorrow needs no translation.

A documentary is shown of soldiers from opposite sides of a war kissing their sweethearts and whispering good bys as they leave for destinations unknown . . .

Their languages were foreign to each other, but their hugs and kisses needed no translation.

An army nurse on foreign soil holds the hand of her dying patient as he takes his last breath, praying for his soul. And he prays with her in a different tongue . . .

Their languages are foreign to each other, but their prayers need no translation.

Adoptive parents meet their little boy in a distant country’s orphanage, tearfully folding him in their arms . . .

Their languages are unfamiliar to each other, but their welcoming hugs need no translation.

Babies cannot speak or understand speech, but are, nonetheless, comforted by their mothers . . .

Their languages are foreign to each other, but their love needs no translation.

Mobs of angry people shake their fists in the air and shout unrecognizable chants as they march . . .

Their speech is not understood by most, but their anger needs no translation.

A royal wedding takes place in a faraway land and cameras telecast the ceremony all over the world . . .

The spoken vows are foreign to the viewers, but the celebration needs no translation.

A babe is born in a humble stable, and uneducated shepherds join heavenly angel choirs in worship while foreigners from the East begin to follow a bright star in the heavens.

Their languages are unknown to each other, but worship needs no translation.

And, God, Creator of all peoples and all languages, speaks silently to each one on their level of understanding . . .

There is no one foreign to Him and His unconditional love needs no translation.

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This article has been read 415 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Noel Mitaxa 12/16/10
Thanks for this succinct, eloquent reminder that words can sometimes get in the way.
Amy Michelle Wiley 12/17/10
I love this. I've experienced many times when I've been able to communicate without sharing a language.
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/18/10
Your list of contrasts make your point exceedingly clear. I liked this.
Nancy Bucca12/19/10
Yes, these things need no translation.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/23/10
Beautiful job. Love doesn't need a translator. Congratulations for placing in the top 10 of Masters and the top 20 overall.