Sunday, September 03, 2017

No Language Barrier

On my first trip to China in 2008, I worked with a medical team doing cleft palate surgeries for poor children in Shenyang. I was blessed to make the acquaintance of the girls above, one who is slightly older. On a subsequent trip, I stayed close to a week with YaNing (on the right),her husband, David, and their precious son, Rei. This entry was from August 15, 2008.

I met these two wonderful young ladies in China. Lucia is a precocious eleven year old who is fluent in English, learning Spanish, and preparing to take on French. She was there at the English Corner more than once when I visited the statue of Mao. I worked with her on the few Spanish phrases I am comfortable with. As I talked with others, Lucia's cousin, unbeknownst to me, was filling the straps of my backpack with flowers she picked on the square. During my last venture to this very public gathering place, I sent Lucia over to meet YaNing. Several years ago, YaNing met and subsequently married David, an American teaching English in a Chinese university. Together, YaNing and David are doing outstanding work for the group that sponsored our mission, splitting their time between Tennessee and China. As I have mentioned before, my primary impression from the trip is that English is a bridge between our two worlds. I asked my students in class yesterday if they would learn Chinese if they would make a million dollars from their mastery of that language. You know the answer they universally gave. In the same way, my perception of English is that it is the language of both business and education in a shrinking world. Therefore, it is valuable in China as an avenue of learning and commerce. The faces I saw in China were not a surprise to me. The words that came from the lips of many of these gracious people caught me off guard....and sounded suspiciously like my own. I found I possess a great treasure in the eyes of many- the ability to speak my native tongue. My prayer is that I can always use it wisely.

Applicable quote of the day:
"The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink."
George Orwell

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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