Tuesday, February 10, 2015


I've joined an online community for women who serve overseas.  Mostly I read the blog posts everyone else writes.  It has been good to read thoughts from other women serving overseas.  I have been challenged to think more about my life, ministry, and God.  Each week they choose a theme and people blog about it or contribute art or whatever.  I keep thinking that I will write something sometime.  So, this week I am going to write.  The theme is language.

Karuizawa Japanese Language School
Of course, when I first started to think about language, I thought about learning Japanese.  Learning this language has been one of the hardest, most challenging, most fun, most frustrating things I have done in my life.  And, I am NOT done yet!  I am pretty sure I will never be done learning this language.

Graduation celebration with some of my language teachers
I don't remember when it happened exactly, but I remember sitting in church one Sunday thinking, "Hey, I am understanding some of this sermon!  I am not just listening to pick out the words, but am actually getting the main ideas here!"  SCORE!  I was floored!

I know there are tons more languages than English and Japanese, but it is pretty cool that Jesus understands both of the languages I speak.  He hears me when I call out to Him in either language.

My first Sunday in Japan I remember sitting in church thinking that I had no clue what was going on, but Jesus did.  Now I not only sit in church understanding most of what is going on, but I also preach in this language!

Listening in church still takes much concentration
After I thought about these things for a while, the theme of language started to take me on a different path.  Language is absolutely necessary.  We need to communicate somehow, and language is the vehicle for communication to take place.  When I sit in my apartment by myself, I use language.  I think about what I need to prepare for tomorrow, I listen to music, I watch TV, I read a book.  All of these need language.

When I go to the ocean and sit on the beach, I use language.  I listen to the ocean, the birds, the wind, other people, God.  Different languages, but all needed for communication.

When I meet my friends or go to work or go to a meeting, more communication happens.  Some communication is non-verbal, which sometimes speaks louder than verbal communication, however, if we want to have conversations, make decisions, make plans, we really need to use verbal communication.  And, there is language again.

Languages are fascinating and amazing.  I am hoping we will keep our languages in heaven and yet be able to understand all the other languages and be able to learn them.  That would be so cool!

I know that learning Japanese has helped deepen my understanding of God as I learn Japanese words and phrases and study the Japanese Bible.  I can't imagine how my understanding would improve if I learned more languages!  Especially Greek and Hebrew!

Anything that deepens my understanding of God is worth the effort and hard work.
(I say this again to myself today to remind me of its truth and importance!)

Talking about things I love in one of my sermons

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