Arriving here a while ago, I remember being encouraged by my language helper to jump right into language and go for it with new friends by starting to put some sentences together. Except, sometimes just introducing yourself in the language can give the impression that you can speak more then you intended. Surprisingly, I found myself being laughed and teased at a bit, being slow to speak some words. I found it can be hard to even laugh at yourself when mistakes are just too much, making it more awkward depending on the culture. When I shared some experiences with my language helper, his response to hearing how others were laughing was defensive. He was really upset that I had these experiences and said it shouldn’t happen. It was a strong protective response that I wasn’t expecting God to use to build up my friendship with my language helper.
These experiences showed me how people can respond differently to weaknesses of someone else and how sharing your weaknesses could only be avoided by disconnecting from people entirely. Pressing into new experiences and putting in the effort to use the language is a struggle, but is an opportunity to grow in relationship with others even if we can’t understand how God will use us in the moment.
The Lord works in amazing ways and now, it’s awesome to look back and see just how Christ’s power can shape the hearts of relationships despite of what I was feeling. Christ’s grace is made perfect through weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.