Tuesday, April 7, 2015

At last...

Today was a pretty special day for me as a language learner/missionary...I was able to share the Gospel in Japanese by myself for the very first time!!

I'm so humbled that God allowed me to do this, and it's incredibly encouraging to realize that I can indeed do it!! 

Let me do a little backtracking...

Over the last few weeks, in order to help me fulfill some of the requirements for me to move on to the next level of Christar language learning requirements, my teacher has been getting me to practice "mini speeches", practicing talking on a given subject for a couple of minutes. She knows me well enough that I tend to "panic" (aka go blank!) when I have to talk on the spot so she gives me a heads up at the end of class what next week's "topic" will be. She always tells me not to worry, not to over-prepare or worry about it being exactly two minutes, (assuming she hopes for me to get more natural with this, not needing a heads up) but, in general I do try to prepare in my mind somewhat what I'll say.

Well last week she told me my topic would be "Easter". The more I thought about it, I realized that this was going to be a perfect opportunity to just share the Gospel with her! I was excited about this open door, but also slightly nervous as I've never done that before in Japanese...and religious language is quite difficult compared to the everyday Japanese I'm used to using. So, I prepared a little 'speech' and went over it with Bobby to make sure it was ok. I tried really hard to memorize it so I wouldn't forget any of the important parts, but also had to try and sound casual at the same time.

And today in class, I did it! I managed to remember almost everything I wanted to say (enough that it made sense thankfully!) and even though she knew I had really prepared, she said it was really easy to understand (one of the advantages of limited language I suppose!). She half jokingly said "oh wow! Now you can preach...or maybe teach at a kid's party at your church!" And although that's far from reality, I took it as a compliment and it's really encouraged me to know that I CAN share the Gospel in Japanese!

It's hard to convey the joy I feel without sounding proud...I know that it's not by my own efforts that I'm able to do this now and all the glory belongs to God! I am NOT a gifted language learner and I don't really enjoy studying Japanese at all. Communication is not easy for me and it's frustrating to generally understand things without being able to reply. I still feel like I struggle with the basics of stringing two sentences together! Any ability I have to speak Japanese is a gift from God because I am so weak and undisciplined. Japanese is a life-long learning language and there's never an end point where you can say you're totally fluent even after years and years of study so it's a long and discouraging road I'm on. 

But for that very reason, it's the little moments like the one I had today that need to be celebrated! 

My language teacher has heard the Gospel several times before over the years, but still hasn't believed. I'm truly humbled that God has allowed me to be a part of the seeds planted in her heart. I pray that some day they'll be watered and she truly will realize the depth of the love God has for her.

Thank you Lord for this newfound ability! Help me to use it as often as possible, for Your glory, that more Japanese might come to know of Your desire to be in intimate relationship with them!!


Annice said...

Praise God for your opportunity and for your success! Thanks for being honest and humble. Praying that God uses you and Bobby and the rest of the gang to continue to minister to the Japanese locals. Persevere dear sister!

Eva Burkholder said...

So happy to hear this, Hillary. Keep up the great work.