Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ponderings from the Tub

The past two weeks have been HOT! Today it’s 114 degrees on our roof and inside our house it’s been hovering around 90... Unfortunately my body picked right now to have an allergic reaction to something so my skin is going crazy - itchy, swollen, red, yuck! I’ve been fanning and taking lots of showers, but today I decided to try an ice bath (at the suggestion of my brilliant husband). I filled the tub with cold water and added as much ice as our freezer has been able to make today (it’s hard work freezing something when it’s this hot). It was great.

I’ve been reading the gospel of Luke a lot lately and as I was chilling in the tub my mind was wandering around in some of Jesus’ parables. The parable of the talents is a familiar story – a master leaves for a trip giving three servants different amounts of money; two work hard and double the money while he is away, but the third (who was given the least) gets scared and does nothing with it. When the master gets back he’s pretty put out with the third servant for not even trying to use what he was given.

When that story came to mind I asked God if this had been a pattern in my life lately. Have there been opportunities / skills / stuff, that I’ve been to scared to use. One word came to my mind – language. I didn't understand where God was going with that one at first, so I kept praying. The first two times we were over here I didn’t really do much in Portuguese Creole. I was teaching English and teaching English teachers, and, let’s face it, I don’t really like to do things I’m not good at (anybody with me???). When we decided to come back as full-time missionaries for four years I knew I had to get serious. I took my Creole Bible and my Creole-English dictionary back to the States and during the year that we were fundraising and training I was studying.

This time back I’ve been working hard at Creole – memorizing scripture, leading a morning staff meeting everyday, doing discipleship and business training with Guinean women – and it’s been good for me. I’ve gotten to know people more, understand them better, and I’ve had lots of new opportunities for ministry. But, the best part is that every time I try something new my Creole has been getting better and better.

As I was thinking about all of this I asked God where I fit in the story. I felt an assurance that right now I’m using what He’s given me and He’s blessing it. I also felt a sense of loss for the first two 8 month blocks we spent here. Sure my knowledge of the language was a lot less then, but what if I had used the small amount of language that I had instead of waiting to get more before I jumped in? Right now I’m being faithful with the “two talents” of language that I have, but what if I had been faithful with the “one talent” that I had before?

One amazing thing about our God is that He’s a God of second chances. Just because you messed up before doesn’t mean you can’t jump in now. What do you have that you’re not using because it’s not all that you would want it to be?


Laura said...

Great thoughts Em!!! I read an article about this guy who is like 100 years old and he is still a lawyer because he feels that God gave him a talent and he should use it to the end. I think we should start praying more to ask God how can he use what we already have and how can we use it where we are....keep on teachin' and preachin' :)

Laura said...

Em-great thoughts girl! That is one prayer we should pray more often...how can we use what you have blessed us with Lord and how can we use that talent where we are currently at? Keep on preachin' and teachin' Prayers coming your way :)

othentic said...

What are your language learning resources, and how can I get my hands on them? My husband's friends won't really speak English around me (macho Bissauans) and my husband hasn't taught me anything in the four years we've been together. I've researched online, language schools, etc. I thought of at least trying Portuguese, but understand Criolo is a lot more like Spanish. Anyhow, I'd love any help, aside from moving over there for some immersion!
Karen Fernandes