Learn the language people argue in!
This was my response to the question: “If people speak two or three languages, which language would I recommend a missionary should learn and use?
Makara spoke English all day long at the foreign company he worked for. On the way home from work, he saw his son ‘popping wheelies’ on his motorcycle in the middle of a main road. Right then and there, his son wiped out on the pavement almost hitting a pedestrian. He needed 22 stitches and the cycle was in even worse shape.
Makara had already told his teenage son to NOT use the cycle for goofing around. The family had only one cycle, and the father walked to work just so his son could use it to get to the university. As soon as Makara’s son returned home from the clinic, Makara scolded his son as any father would do. They argued back and forth for ten whole minutes. Neither of these two men spoke a word of English during this time.
Why? Because they were engaged in a topic that carried a lot of emotion and concern for both the father and son.
No matter how many Khmer women spoke English in Cambodia, I have never heard one mother sing a lullaby to her baby other than in Khmer. Presently, the majority of my neighbors from Spanish speaking parts of the world, know and speak English. But when it comes to music, I only hear songs blaring in Spanish and tunes that I imagine they grew up with.
- First hear about the God of every tongue and every nation in their heartfelt language?
- Learn to follow and obey God in a language that comes from a place of earnestness, passion, and fervor?
- Tell their neighbors about a God that speaks their language?
You may have heard of this quote from Nelson Mandela: