God at work…
For me the greatest challenge in moving to Thailand has certainly been trying to become proficient in speaking Thai. Each day is a challenge to retain what I have learnt and to not only increase my vocabulary, but to do so with the correct sentence structure. Along with this we attempt to communicate in a culturally acceptable way. Someone once said: “The goal is not only to learn language but to work towards becoming “at home” within our host culture.”
We have been called to Thailand to share the good news of Jesus to those who have never heard this amazing message and to disciple and encourage fellow believers. To my knowledge there are limited Bible commentaries written in Thai and very few Christian books available. Therefore teaching and discipleship is mainly done by word of mouth.
I was recently convicted in my personal devotional study. At the time I was studying a language module titled: Easy Gospels. I felt God asking me: “Bruce, what are you doing?” My reply: “Lord, I am learning Thai.” God: “what have I called you to do? ” Bruce: “To teach and share the good news of everlasting life that only comes through you.” God: “So why are you only learning Thai?”
I had taken my focus from the calling we have as a family and had moved my focus to learning language as a first priority. Sharing the good news is the goal, learning Thai is the means. As soon as I realised what I had done, my thinking and perspective changed. Studying the module now became a time of learning and sharing the good news of the Gospel simultaneously. I was no longer studying a module to place a tick in the box.
This mental change has truly been a blessing and great encouragement as my teachers have reminded me of discussions we had, then giving feedback that they shared our discussions with other people. Suddenly it does not matter that I am not fluent in Thai yet! I am to be faithful to what God has called me to. I am called to rely on his strength and not my own ability. I must do what I am able to do and God will be faithful to do the rest.