Language Learning: The Inner War

KronkEvery day here in Košice, I wage war while I sip my morning coffee and review my tasks for the day.

It’s not a video-game war, or a war with a friend over some online word game.  It’s an internal war – fighting with myself.  The argument typically goes something like this:

“What are you going to do with yourself today?  Isn’t it about time you DO something?”

“I am doing something, the same thing I’ve been doing since I got here.  I’m learning, I’m growing.”

“What you’re doing is not useful to anyone.  People are giving money for you to be here, helping and sharing the Gospel.  You’re not doing that.”

“It’s not traditional ministry, no, but it’s still ministry.”

“What you’re doing is not really ministry.  You’re not helping anyone by sitting there with your textbook, or reviewing flashcards on your phone, or trying to speak Slovak at the store…”

It’s a question I ask myself often, and I imagine you asking it, too:  When are we going to DO something?  When are we going to share, preach, help?  When are we going to have something we can send to our partners and say, “Look!  Here’s what your investment is accomplishing!”

The fact is – and I’ll elaborate more on this in a later post – what we’re doing right now is BOTH preparation AND ministry.  But when you’ve been used to traditional ministry (or traditional jobs) for so long, it’s hard to remember that what we’re doing is vital and relevant.

Where’s the grace in all this?  It’s in the special relationships we’re building with people who have taken us under their wing, to act as our guides in a new culture.

It’s in those moments during worship, when we realize we’re worshiping in two languages that are not our own (Slovak and Roma), and our hearts are connecting with God… no translator required.

It’s in those times when you tell a person – in a slow and broken version of their own language – that you came here to learn about THEM and THEIR culture.  And watching their faces light up when they realize they have something worth sharing and teaching.

Where’s the grace?  It’s all over the place.  We just have to keep finding it!

So, let the battle resume!

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2 thoughts on “Language Learning: The Inner War

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  1. Remember: “A journey of 10,000 miles begins with a single step.” Never lose sight of the ultimate Goal. But always relate today’s events, to that goal. I’ve been “practicing” dentistry for 44 years, but I am still improving. Every day is a “This is the day the LORD has made, we will rejoice, and be glad in it.” This is the day to build a new relationship, to share Who is my Savior, and what He has done around me. No Event is purposeless. It is useful for “correction, rebuking, teaching, or training in rightousness, so that the man of God will be fully equipped for every good work.” ENJOY THIS EVERY SACRED MOMENT!
    Yours, in Christ, Leroy Bradshaw

  2. Thanks for sharing your battle with us! I can understand your thought process – but we know that every day you are there you are where God wants your family to be. Just like us at home – he uses us – your job is harder because of the language and all your sacrafices. What a journey!

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