March 16, 2009


While still in seminary, I heard, for the first time, the phrase ‘heart-language.’ When applied to missions, the term refers to the language in which a person is most comfortable. The language they use when they pray and speak to themselves. For most people in America, this would be English. It is English I use when I pray to God. When I am emotional or want to truly be expressive, I do not use Portuguese but instead I return to my default langue. Why do I say all of this, well… here in Brazil my family attends church with only Brazilians. At all church activities, whether it be Sunday School lessons, a sermon, music, or even at social activities, Portuguese is the language spoken.

Now, as many of you know, all members of our families speak Portuguese at some level. Our family is immersed in the language and the culture by having lived in Brazil for the last year and a half. Also, we have attended the same Baptist church for over a year. As a result, many might come to the conclusion that we should feel comfortable at church. However, this assumption would be the farthest thing from the truth.

Tara, the kids, and I find it so difficult to go to church much of the time. It is difficult to sit in a hot Sunday School class or to sit in church with distractions from the street market wafting in from outside and try to make sense of the language. It is difficult to hear so many different accents and try to decipher each phrase and expression. It is difficult, when all you want to do is connect with God, to be unable to do so because of the language.

This last Sunday evening was one of those services to which I was not looking forward. It was going to be long and the service for children was not going to start until about one-half way through the service. I just wanted to stay home, work and spend time with the family. This was not to be… for my little girl wanted to be in church.

On the way, she said, “Do you know why I wanted to go to church Daddy?” I asked why. She said, “because the Bible says to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” It amazing to be reminded of Biblical truths by your five-year-old daughter… to be told again of the charge given to you in Exodus 20:8. So, like me, I hope you are aware of our need to give to God the time He deserves and requires.