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A Brief Story…

April 9, 2008

Here is a brief excerpt from my reflection paper from my time in Mexico- this is discussing our team’s mercy ministry visit to a man named Jesus who lived in the city:

While these more subtle cultural nuances existed, nothing was as challenging as the language barrier. As previously mentioned, I was unexpectedly asked to be the lead translator for the mercy ministry team of Gordon Loop, John Bradshaw, Nathan Akin, Jonathan Parnell, and Randy Alston. I say surprisingly because I came to Acuna three years removed from my most recent Spanish class. Even while taking Spanish in college I never took any classes beyond the introductory level or had a real conversation in Spanish. Needless to say, I did not expect to come to do any sort of translating. I prayed that I would have as much facility with the language as possible, and truly felt God’s presence and help with being able to speak the language and recall much of what I learned in my previous years of Spanish classes.

Despite being able to speak the language much better than I expected, I still did not feel entirely comfortable with going to a church member’s house as the most capable translator. Pastor Bernardo’s two daughters, who did not speak any English, joined us to help locate the house of Jesus, the church member we were visiting. John Bradshaw and I, along with Bernardo’s daughters, went into the house to see if there was way we could serve their family. After meeting us outside, he invited us into his home so that we could talk in the same room as his ill mother, who appeared in a great amount of pain as she moaned the majority of the time we were there. At first Jesus insisted that he did not need any help, however much pleading from the pastor’s daughters led to him acknowledging that he needed adult diapers for his bed-ridden mother as well as basic food items.

What was so powerful about this ministry experience was not that we were able to serve a man in need, although that was powerful in itself. What made this so emotive was witnessing four members of the body of Christ—myself, John Bradshaw, and the two pastors daughters—struggle together to communicate with Jesus and his family. John, despite not knowing any Spanish, helped by holding a dictionary and looking up words that I needed. The two girls helped by simplifying what Jesus said into more basic Spanish phrases so I could understand, and also took the basic Spanish phrases I said and reiterated them in a more sophisticated manner. I did not really understand what was transpiring at the time, but later that night I realized that four of us, from all different backgrounds and with all different language aptitudes, used our gifts and struggled together so that we could show a man and his mother the love of Christ in a real and practical way. I witnessed four people come together to function as the body of Christ in that room.

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