Helpful Broken Spanglish

December 29th, 2008

Focus Text: Proverbs 10: 31-32 (NLT)

31 The mouth of the godly person gives wise advice,
      but the tongue that deceives will be cut off.

 32 The lips of the godly speak helpful words,
      but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words.


Stop Here and Reflect Reading Ahead

I write today’s thread from the beautiful city of Cochabamba, Bolivia.  After over twenty-four hours of international travel and layovers, our team of twenty-four members have just completed our first twenty-four hours here . . . are you seeing a theme develop . . . nope, totally coincidence.

Anyhoo, this morning we loaded up and made our way across town to the Bolivian Hope Center, a ministry that serves hundreds of children each week, some of whom live in prison with their incarcerated mothers.  Our team arrived today to lend a helping hand in the sanding and staining of doors in the new children’s home, as well as the sanding and varnishing of bamboo poles in a structure known as the poweechee . . . an open-air building where the children receive their meals.  I couldn’t have been prouder of our students and leaders who worked diligently and joyfully at each task assigned to them.  

There is no doubt that our time playing with the children is everyone’s favorite part of our trip.  Today, a little boy . . . probably five or six years old, ransacked me from behind and hijacked me into becoming his piggy-back ride. Resistance was futile . . . besides, this is what we’re here for.  A trip up the three flights of stairs and back down with my little amigo screaming and laughing the whole way did more than just empty my lungs of air in this high altitude; it also filled my heart with joy.  

The most intriguing characteristic of international travel has to be the language barrier.  I speak just enough Spanish to communicate the essentials, but I’m far from fluent.  Yet, somehow the little boy and I were able to spend time together and share an experience that was enjoyable for both of us.  Words are important, but more important is the heart from which these words originate.  That’s what these verses are speaking about . . . “the mouth of the godly” and the “tongue that deceives” are both telling statements about the consistency of one’s soul rather than just the content of one’s speech.  If godliness is at the center of one’s being, then what one says will be flavored with“wise advice” and “helpful words.”  

There is no language barrier for these things.  You and I may not be the most gifted communicators.  We may not dazzle the masses with our vocabulary and vernacular brilliance.  We may not captivate millions with our skills; but when our hearts are godly, our words will be just right because they will be cultivated from the depths of a divine connection with the Creator of all languages spoken and unspoken.

Love is not confined to dialect . . . it is universally understood.  We don’t need any Rosetta Stone programs to learn it and we mustn’t master its intricacies in order to speak it.  It may not always result in sage or “wise advice,” but it is always “helpful.”  In my case, I hope that my broken Spanglish in combination with my willingness to be a human airplane were helpful to my new friend . . . they certainly were for me.  

It was a long and fulfilling day filled with Spanish words . . . English words . . . life-changing words.




~ by johndriver on December 29, 2008.

One Response to “Helpful Broken Spanglish”

  1. God is amazing. Just when we think that we have no more knowledge to convey to someone, God uses the holy spirit through us. As long as I am growing in my relationship with God, he will constantly provide the words necessary for communication. It might not even be a word, but an action. He works through us in different ways. Sounds like the trip has had a good start! I am praying for you guys!

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