Today we said goodbye to our friends at the baptist church. (Yes, the baptist church. There’s only one in town. What a change from living in North Carolina where there was a baptist church on nearly every corner.) We will hang on to fond memories of the many Sundays we spent worshiping with this group of believers. From the very first Sunday that we attended (almost one year ago to the day), we were met with many warm embraces and immediately felt at ease. I remember that on our second Sunday a family approached us to say that if we ever needed to borrow a car they would be more than happy to lend us theirs. We had only met them the week before! The same family organized and led a Bible study all year long for language learners like us to attend and ask questions and be asked questions and simply get to know other church members. More recently, another family invited us over to share Christmas dinner at their house. We gratefully accepted the invitation and paraded our circus over to their house for what proved to be a most scrumptious meal. What generosity! What patience! (Fortunately, we didn’t break anything.)
Today, on our last Sunday, I was asked to share a little about our family before the congregation. Slightly nervous, I stood up and pulled out the one page mini-sermonette I had prepared the night before. Do people really want to know about us? What’s there to tell? Aren’t we kind of boring? Wouldn’t they rather hear about Jesus? Raising and wrestling with these questions in my mind I developed a three-fold outline based around one of our favorite language-learning quotes (credit: Greg Thomson):
Don’t learn the language! Rather, relearn the world as it is known and shared by the people whose language you are learning.
Following this theme, I poked fun at both ourselves and the French by mentioning some humorous ways in which we have needed to relearn the world this year. But, I noted, the Christian life is also about relearning the world after a certain fashion. We do become born-again after all, don’t we? Being reborn, we learn to live by seeking out that which pleases the Lord. It is difficult to do so, however, if the Bible is not translated into the language you understand best. Thus, we are excited to be working in Bible translation where as a result people have the opportunity to relearn the world according to the Bible. You see, we all have relearning to do.