Communication without Words
“There are hundreds of languages in the world, but a smile speaks them all.”
-Anonymous (pg. 2)
The fear of going on my mission trip to Honduras was building up inside of me. I had spent the past three months brushing up on my Spanish so that when we arrived in Honduras, I would feel confident when I was speaking to the Natives. However, that confidence was now destroyed as my Pastor dropped the bomb that we were changing destinations to a NON-Spanish speaking country. Political Turmoil
The situation taking place in Honduras was referred to as a coup d'état, which is defined as ‘a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics; especially: the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group,’ according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The specific events taking place at this time, were that the military of the country had not only overthrown the leader of the government but had also exiled him to another country. Taking these things into consideration, we were still going to proceed with our trip because the people obviously needed help now more than ever. Unfortunately, a huge event had taken place that morning that the mission team was not aware of. A bomb had gone off across the street from the airport, which meant the airport had closed.
With six days until our departure, we were now changing destinations to a small village in Guatemala that spoke Keechi. All that hard work relearning Spanish, and now it was of no use to me because we were going to be working with people that spoke a language I’d never heard of! How was I supposed to communicate the message of Christ to people that couldn’t understand what I was saying? In a Panic
The day finally came to leave for Guatemala, and as I sat in that airplane seat, I kept trying to brainstorm ways I could share the story of Christ to the teachers, families, and children that inhabited the village we would be visiting. If I wanted to speak to the people of the village I would have to speak, in small fragments, to the first translator who would translate my words to Spanish for the second translator who would translate the first translator’s words to Keechi for the village people. Not only was it a time consuming process but, according to Creel and Hamilton’s definition; syntactic rules suggest that after the process of translating my original words twice, they might be arranged in a new way, according to varying language rules, that conveyed a different message than I had intended. No Need for Words
Alas, when we had arrived to the village, the time had come to figure out how to communicate the love of Christ to these people. When we first entered the school, the kid’s faces lit up and they began shouting things. As soon as I heard their language I began to feel uncomfortable and out of my element because, I didn’t understand and couldn’t respond. However, when the activities for the first day of Bible School began, the problem was quickly resolved. We had not known it, but the Keechi translator had already prepared a message for the kids telling them about our God, but what we also didn’t know was that the majority of the kids were already believers in Christ. Then, when it was our turn to interact with the children, there were no need for words. Unspoken Languages
“Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body.”
-Martha Graham (pg. 3) The Bible School began with the larger group gathering to worship by singing songs and dancing. We sang these songs in Spanish, which meant the majority of us didn’t understand what we were saying, but it didn’t matter. The kids didn’t need to know what we were saying to understand that singing foreign words and dancing silly was a universal way of praising the God we believed in, and they were happy to participate. One of the songs we sang and danced to was nothing but singing “la la la” and the message was still...
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