Well, I did it! I just signed up for my online Spanish class and I am so excited. I really think that it is amazing that I am taking this class. I took 2 years of Spanish in HS and I cheated much of the way through it. I picked up a little of it but never learned much. I have always thought that people who come to America need to learn our language and so I have never really sympathized with people who can't speak English. I have never been to Mexico before last week and I never really cared if I ever went. This was my attitude, so why the change of heart?
I was thinking about this and the only answer I have is that the Lord intervened. Over the past years the Lord has been working on the hearts of my husband and me. He has been making us more sensitive the work He is doing around the world. It started with a desire to financially support a missionary family and it has grown from there. Trace took a class called Perspectives on World Missions last fall simply because he would be able to get graduate credit for the class and he has desired to go to seminary for several years so he thought this was the perfect way to get his feet wet. Credit was the sole motivation and he was recently accepted to seminary to study cross-cultural studies. Isn't that the way the Lord works...he changes our hearts and changes our desires.
Trace and I decided to attend a meeting that the church was having about short term missions. We were interested in going on a trip, but did not really have any specific ideas about what we wanted to do, where we wanted to go, or if it was even feasible. We went to the meeting and the mission trip we just went on was not even mentioned. We asked someone about a family mission trip and a couple who went on the trip 2 years ago overheard us. They gave us a little information, encouraged us that it was possible with small children, and told us how to get in touch with the people heading the trip up. The next thing I knew we were heading to Mexico.
Then in the months to come we had some minor repairs that we needed to have done to our car. The dealership has a driver that they allowed to run me home so that I did not have to wait at the dealership for the car. I got to talking to this extremely kind man as he ran me home and then came back to pick me up. He has been in the States for 30 years and still speaks very choppy English. He talked about how hard it has been for him to learn English, he talked about his family, and then he eventually shared a little with me about his faith. He is a Jehovah’s Witness. I asked if he was before coming here and he told me no. I thought about that a lot. I wondered why that may be true. Jehovah’s witnesses go door to door sharing their faith. They take evangelism seriously. I thought how lonely it must be to be in a new place and not be able to speak the language. I thought about how comforting it might be to have someone come to your door and share concern for you and express kindness. This man also told me that they have a Spanish speaking service as well as an English service. They offer him some comfort. They accept him as he is, as a Spanish speaking person. This man is really likable and just being around him and hearing a little of his story began to change my heart and change my attitude.
Then, the first night that we were in Mexico I layed in bed and cried, praising God for opening my eyes and putting me in that spot. Earlier that evening we had gone out to walk to the store at the children's home. There was a group of girls jumping on the trampoline and they began yelling for Rebecca to come over to them. We walked over and Aidan and Rebecca jumped with them. There was such joy on their faces. They exhibited such beauty and I was overwhelmed by the fact they were God's handiwork, that they were God's children, and that He had hand selected these kids and placed them in this children’s home, where they would hear the word of God boldly proclaimed. I felt like I was getting a chance to look into the eyes of my Father as I looked at these kids. I immediately felt bonded to them and love for them.
God granted me greater love in that moment. I was able to see and experience and hopefully communicate love in a new way. These children were not suffering children in a 3rd world country, they were children of God, blessed to be chosen and called to such a place to hear the word of God taught. So as I spent the next 5 days struggling to communicate with these children and other adults who crossed my path I understood that they were valuable, to me and to the Lord. I wanted so badly to hear there stories, ask about their families, and tell them they were precious to me and the Lord. I was limited in how much I could do that. I am determined to be better at it next year. I am determined to show the driver at the dealership that he is valuable and to try to put him at ease by attempting to communicate with him in his first language. I am determined to share the love of Jesus with any other Spanish speaking people that the Lord chooses to bless my path with. This is so new and different for me that I know this must come from the Lord, who is bigger than all. Who reaches down across languages and works to redeem all peoples! In seeing my limitations, I am able to better see His sovereignty and to love His people. And for me, part of loving His people is valuing them enough to learn a little better how to communicate with them.