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  • Writer's pictureDeb Killian

Language Barrier

This weekend my husband blessed me with a Chinese massage.  I love this place.  The gals are so sweet and kind, but they barely speak English.  So, we communicate the best we can through hand gestures and giggles.  

Today, I was trying to ask one of the gals how to say Thank You in Chinese.  Of course she didn't know what I was asking & after 3 tries I realized that just saying the same thing over and over was not going to help her understand.  I tried sign language and we were laughing hysterically until I finally bowed and she said “Oh, shank shoo”.  Yes, I screamed!  And then she said “Xie xie” (pronounced “'she-ay”) and we hugged.  What an delicious moment of bonding!

It made me think of the many missionary friends we have around the world.  So many nations, countries and languages!  Barriers at first, connecting while learning from one another and the potential to share God’s love through it all.  I considered how some of them leave every comfort, everything secure behind to enter into a culture where one is not understood and cannot understand.  I thought about the patience that is needed, the love that is endured, the grace and precious desire to build a relationship that is required.  Even language school only teaches the basics but there are dialects, slang and mixtures of each to learn as well. 

We short-termers count on those that have moved in to buffer the language barrier; much like Heaven coming to Earth.  We have learned the language of this world and its mindset, but God would come to live within us teaching us His language and Kingdom mentality.  We don’t always understand what He is saying & rather than repeat the same thing over and over, He sends angels, gives us signs and performs wonders.  Sometimes we feel silly when we finally ‘get it’.  Shaking our heads, we laugh.  Often it’s an epiphany and we must stop to ponder in amazement at how our lives are so much more valuable having learned a lesson unique to the Heavens.  However, no matter our response we are creating an intimate and lasting rapport with our Father.  A relationship in which His language will become our language.

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