From Dead Languages to Living People

If you had told me a year ago that I would be going overseas to serve with missions in an international context, I probably would have shrugged off your comment as if it was only a hyperbolic compliment.  My head was in the clouds.  Well, I guess it still is, but things have changed.  Slowly, bit-by-bit, God has worked on my heart and my ambitions

My mind’s always been in the past.  Little pleased me more than to drone on-and-on about bygone days.  I could tell you more about the feats of Alexander or the reforms of Akhenaten than I could whatever the kids are into these days.  That’s still true.

I went to college to study the past, to translate the texts of cultures whose days had come and gone, as remote and removed from our modern contexts as the Romans were from China. 

But God’s call for me to shift my focus from dead languages to living people came slowly and in bits and pieces.  It’s a lot like how language itself works.  The Anglo-Saxons of Beowulf’s day didn’t wake up one morning to find themselves texting with 21st century vernacular all of a sudden.  Even leading up to that, our predecessors may not have seen it coming.  Plenty of us are still quite amazed things happened the way they did.  Looking back, however, it all seems sensible how modern English could arise from the centuries-old linguistic interchange that molded it.

So it was for me.  As I pursued my own ambitions, God barred tight some gates and guided me by alternate routes.  He introduced me to GoCorps only a matter of months ago, through which he presented me an opportunity to use my love for languages and engaging with other cultures.  This time, however, it would not be through the untranslated pages of Homer or in the corner of an archaeology lab, but instead out in the open, leading me beyond the horizon to West Africa.  Through long sessions of praying and pouring through the Scripture, combined with the encouragement and challenges by those around me, I started to see that perhaps this was what God had in store for me.  

At last I surrendered to this beckon and applied to work in with GoCorps, and the rest is history.