Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Love in Many Languages
I met Molly and Caleb, her young brother, at church one Wednesday night. Their uncle, Sam, was visiting in town and wanted to make sure that the children were in church. He lived in Dallas and had come down to visit his sister's family. He walked with me to see where the children's classes would be.
After we took the children to their classes, Sam asked me if we did home visits when guest came to church. He wanted to make sure that his sister and her family received a visit. I told him that we as a church went out on Mondays and that I would add Molly and Caleb to the list. He shook my hand and told me that he and all of his friends in Dallas would be praying for that visit.
After church, Sam picked up the children and waved at me from the other end of the hall. I smiled and said a small prayer thanking God for Sam and to guide us the next Monday.
Monday came quickly and that evening, we met with other church members and prayed before we all headed out. My husband and I took Molly and Caleb's card and headed out the door. Their home was in one of the neighborhoods near the church so we were there fairly quickly.
We knocked on their door and waited. Sarah, who was the children's mom and Sam's sister, answered the door. We introduced ourselves and she invited us in. We walked into the living room and were introduced to everyone there. Caleb and Molly shyly said hello. We greeted Sarah's mom, Mara, with a nod of our head. We shook hands with Helen, a friend of the family and Lydia, the family's Avon sales person. Baby Joshua toddled up to us and patted my knee.
Introductions done, Sarah brought us each a glass of water. We thanked her for allowing the children to attend the Wednesday night program. She smiled and asked some questions about what the program entailed, if there were any cost, and if the children could go back again. I answered her questions and then asked if she had any other questions.
She paused, looked down at her hands and then looked back at me. She said, "When I was ten, I was baptized in a church." I smile and said, "That's good."
She shook her head no and then replied, "I do not understand why I was baptized. What does that mean?" I looked at Doug and could tell that he was quietly praying. He smiled at me and nodded his head.
I looked at Sarah and the other ladies and said, "Sarah, have you ever received Jesus as your Lord?" She looked at me, looked at her mom and her friends and then, "No, I have wanted to - we have all wanted to. Can you tell us how to?"
I opened my Bible and told them what God had done for us. Because of our sinful nature, we are each separated from God. I told them God loves us so much, He sent Jesus to earth as a baby, He became a man and died for our sins. I went verse by verse with them as I explained that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your hearts that He died for you, a person could be saved.
Tears were washing down their cheeks as I asked, "Who here wants to ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior." Six people bowed their heads and prayed to receive Christ.
As the last person said amen, we all looked at each other and rejoicing began. Each woman in turn told me of how they had longed to know what to do. Caleb and Molly were excitedly asking what was next. We talked about reading their Bible, about finding a church and getting Baptized. Sarah grinned and said, "This time, I will know why!"
I looked at my watch and realized that we had been there for more than two hours. Doug and I gave hugs and headed for the door. As Sarah opened the door, she said, "God is so good to send someone who can speak Tagalog. Where did you learn to speak it so well?"
I looked at Doug and he looked at me. I turned to Sarah and said, "Sarah, we do not speak Tagalog." She looked at me puzzled and replied, "but my mother speaks no English and neither does Helen, and I heard you"
I shook my head and said, "No, we heard you speak English. I do not speak Tagalog." I smiled and gave her a hug and held her for just a minute. I said, "But God does."
She called out and the family came to the door. Excitedly in Tagalog she told her family what had happened. We again held hands and prayed and thanked God for His miracle. That He loved this family so much, He sent His own Interpreter to meet with us all, The Holy Spirit.
We again hugged everyone. We were each speaking our own language now, but the love was understood.
Doug and I went to our car and just held hands and sat in silence - completely awed by what had just happened.
I called Sam when I got home and gave him the news. Again, we praised God and thanked Him for His goodness. Between the two of us, we found the family a church mission that would help them and that spoke Tagalog. I checked on them from time to time and occasionally would see Molly and Caleb at church on Wednesday nights.
Many years have passed since that night. I think about it and sometimes wonder, "Did it really happen?". Then I look at Doug and he confirms that yes, a miracle did happen that night. I may not speak any other language but English, but God does - it's called Love.
Acts 2:5-12 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? ... we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"