I have feared that I will NEVER learn this language. 6 months into my language studies, I can carry on simple conversations, order at shops and restaurants, and ask questions to help me find my way along. I am no longer rehearsing every little phrase in my head before saying it and becoming more comfortable every day. But the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know, and surprisingly, the more discouraged I can become. It is hard to see the progress from day to day, but as I look back further, I can see how far I have truly progressed with the Lord’s help.
But I still fear that I will never grasp this language in a way that is conducive to gospel conversations. The first time I attempted to witness to my neighbor in Nepali, she asked me if we worship 3 gods (God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit). I have a hard enough time explaining the doctrine of the Trinity in my native language, let alone a language I am just beginning to grasp the basics of!
It is hard to wrap my mind around the idea being able to answer questions like this in a culture that has no concept of Christianity and of the one true, living God in my second language. I must continue to keep “plugging away.” Even when I feel like I’m at a standstill, I know the wheels are turning somewhere undetectable. When I feel my brain is fried, God is greater than my frailty and will plant roots of knowledge despite my scattered state. It is only my responsibility to put the time and the work in, to push back the thoughts that are sent by the enemy to thwart my study and future ministry. I can’t make it all sink in. I must only trust that the Lord will enable me to soak up the countless hours of study, to give me opportunities to rest when I need it, and most importantly, to give me chances to share the gospel in this new and strange tongue.
I’ve always believed that the Holy Spirit could speak through me. Why would I think that He would be limited by the Nepali language? Surely the author of all tribes and tongues can help me hurdle the ever daunting language barrier to accomplish His ultimate plan for gospel growth in this needy land.
Have you overcome a seemingly insurmountable challenge for the sake of the gospel?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!