Speaking to the Heart
Language learning is an important part of any cross-cultural work. Just a few words spoken in the local language can fast-forward you from foreigner to friend.
Nelson Mandela said, ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands it goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, it goes to his heart.’
That’s why my husband and I have started trying to learn Greek in preparation for working in the Greek-speaking nations of the Eastern Mediterranean. It’s not easy, but we’re persevering, because we want to make heart connections with those we are going to serve.
We’ve got to the point where we can say, ‘The pink spider speaks Greek.’ (Seriously, that’s one of the phrases we’ve been taught!) We can’t imagine where that may come in handy, but you never know!
Simple words in another language may have layers of meaning that, when peeled back, reveal norms and ways of seeing things that help to give us greater insight into the culture we’re seeking to serve. So, we persevere, one stumbling word at a time, and hope that one day we’ll come across a Greek-speaking pink spider!
As our good friends leave to spend some time in Greece today, pray that they are able to make good connections that ‘Speak to the Heart’.