A language milestone: wise gospel words shared
Posted on: 25th October 2023
Since 2016, CMS worker N has been committed to gospel ministry and English language teaching in SE Asia. During this time, and despite significant challenges, she has continued to work at learning the language and culture of her location. Here she speaks of a recent exciting gospel opportunity.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1)
I continue to meet with my language helper about three times a week and my language is slowly improving. However, up until now, the most I’ve ever done in front of a group is a very short personal introduction.
Recently, I decided it was time to change that. So, for our language centre’s end-of-term graduation party, I prepared and gave a five-minute speech in the local language. As a teacher I often ask my students to prepare and give a short speech in front of their classmates, and I know how nervous they often get. So, this was also my way of making myself a little vulnerable and showing them that I too am a language learner, just like them.
I was nervous, and it was far from a perfect speech, but all the students were very attentive. They could follow all that I said, and I think they really appreciated it.
Lessons in love?
As well as encouraging them in their studies, I shared these ‘wise words’ with them (in the local language). I didn’t tell them where the words came from but possibly you will recognise them:
“If I speak all the languages of earth or even the languages of angels but don’t have love then I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
Yes, they are Paul’s words taken from 1 Corinthians 13—his famous chapter on love.
I think many in the room would have agreed that love is important. But in my talk, I was also able to go a bit further and ask these questions:
“Can we take a course in love like we take a course in English? If we try really hard, can we grow love within our hearts?”
I said that I thought the answer to both those questions was ‘no’. Then I shared that people often wonder why I’d chosen to leave my comfortable home and come to live in this country. The reason, I explained, is that God has poured into my heart a special love for the people of this land. I think they got the point. I pray that they will experience that love for themselves.
Pray with N that God will grow these small seeds of truth, and that more people here would come to know his love for themselves.