On Friday my husband and I traveled by train through Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and finally into Poland. The weekend provided quiet time to catch up on emails and continue preparations for the next camp that begins later this week. It also gave me the opportunity to process what I’ve learned in the past two weeks.
Here’s what rises to the top: Love speaks every language.
Last week we ministered among a group of special Romanian teens and young adults. We didn’t speak their language, but we communicated love in a variety of ways—by playing games and doing crafts with them, by giving frequent hugs, by laughing with them at the things that tickled their funny bone, and by sharing God’s word with them. By the week’s end, they knew beyond a doubt that our team cared deeply about their well-being.
Within a few days, we’ll bring a different team into Poland to host a family camp. Again, we won’t speak the language but it doesn’t matter. We’ll eat meals with our campers, study God’s word together, do crafts and games with them, listen to their stories and share our testimonies via a translator, and teach conversational English classes. Like our Romanian campers, these folks will know they are loved. (“I’ve never felt so loved” is the comment we hear at camp’s end every summer).
Sometimes we meet people but for a brief moment in time during our travels. Nothing thrills me more than to communicate love in a single moment and to watch their response.
For instance, on Friday a plump, grey-haired lady hobbled toward us where we sat on a bench at the Budapest train station. In one hand, she carried two cloth shopping bags, handles tied together with old pantyhose. With her other hand, she supported herself with a cane. Her plain, rumpled clothing seemed out of place amidst the high heels and dressy outfits of the many business women walking briskly to and fro.
I, too, carried a cloth bag. It contained our breakfast and lunch—meals for the long train ride we faced. It also contained several nectarines. Without a moment’s thought, I reached into my bag and withdrew one. I then offered it to the lady without saying a word. She didn’t say a word, either. She simply took it from me and stuffed it into one of her bags. Then she looked into my eyes, nodded, and smiled.
Love speaks every language.
Sometimes fear of the unknown or of inadequacy hinders us from being intentional about showing love towards people of other cultures. Let’s rise above that fear by asking God to help us see others through His eyes and to give us the boldness to show His love for them in practical ways. That’s a prayer He’ll most certainly answer with a yes.
How can you show love to someone from a different culture today?