I have no idea what on earth I expected, but I never even considered that language would be such a big gap to bridge when it comes to ministering in South America! Well, being a Vrystaatse farm girl, that considers English as a forreign language, you can just imagine what went through my mind as we stepped off the airplane in São Paulo, Brazil... Never mind English, everything was in Portugese!!! And I mean EVERYTHING and everyone! The stop signs, ATM's, soda names, stop signs, custom ladies, exit signs, DVD's, television programs....oooh and I can go on...!
But after spending almost a week in the house of a real Brazillian family I realised that there are definitly a few pro's to be found in this rather difficult situation... like the fact that if you don't understand them, they,most likely, don't understand you either!!!
Here's a few beautiful "language moments":
- Charné,and I prayed in Afrikaans for two little Brazillian girls, while painting their nails and braiding their hair for a womens day treat! Blessing their hands and hearts...and Jesus heard!
- As a man of God treated us for a buffet lunch, where we could taste ALL the traditional Brazillian food, I stood there, in a crowd of people, praying out loud in Afrikaans praising God for this surprise and blessing! I might have looked like a crazy woman, speaking to herself, but God heard!
- Me and Chanan decided to take some funny photos in the one shopping mall, when this security lady angrily walked up to us, shaking her head! What do you do? You just widen your eyes, pull up your shoulders and say very innocently: "Ai tog tannie, maar ons verstaan nie Portugees nie, ons praat net Afrikaans...!"
- Walking into a shop and freezing like a statue when the sales lady start speaking Portugese to you...walking out and learning the phrase: "Non filo Portugese"**, then walking back just to smile and tell her that!
- Worshipping with a local church, singing Jesus Culture's "Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty"! The church singing in Portugese and were singing in English...Jesus the Saviour of all, knows our hearts and understands every word on each one's lips, even though we don't understand what the person next to us is singing! The Spirit moved...
- Our host lady, that don't understand English at all, dragging us to the computer, asking us to pray for het mother, over Google Translate! We understood...God as well!
- At home church our host prayed over his eldest son, all in Portugese, when the Lord gave me a word for the boy. After they prayed for him, I shared the word and the father started laughing, asking me if I'm sure that I don't understand Portugese, because I said exactly what he just prayed over his son! We were all encouraged by the fact that it's the same Spirit at work in all of us!
Like I said...God can use even a rather difficult situation and turn in into something memorable, beautiful and an opporunity to praise and love Him even more...!
All praise be to the God of the nations, the Holy Spirit of truth and Jesus Christ, the Name above all names!!!
* "Sorry aunty, but we don't understand Portugese, we only speak Afrikaans"
**"I don't speak Portugese"