Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bedtime Stories

(Day 15 of 15-day Prayer Challenge)

Usi, a mother of two, came to help me (Missy) with household chores on Friday mornings, but did not speak or understand much English. I needed to practice my Pidgin, and she needed cash to buy soap and kerosene, so the arrangement worked out well. I knew God had brought Usi into my life, but I was a bit nervous about this. I make friends here in the States very slowly. So how was I going to build a relationship with another woman that didn’t even speak the same language?

At first, I kind of dreaded Friday morning. It was always such a struggle to communicate more than the basic, “How are you? How is your family? Can you please help me hang up the laundry?” I wanted to show Usi that she was important to me, and not just for the work she did.

In PNG it is customary for house help to receive tea or coffee at 10:00 AM from their employer. So after praying about it, I decided to use that time to sit down with Usi and try talking about her home, garden etc. After the first couple of weeks, my limited vocabulary was exhausted and I could tell Usi was bored and uncomfortable. In desperation, I prayed to God for help, that I didn’t know how I was going to reach out to Usi with Christ’s love.

Later that week I talked with Ruth, our neighbor’s house help. Ruth spoke a little English and told me how she had recently learned to read the pidgin Bible. That gave me an idea and I asked Ruth if she would come for tea the following Friday and help me read a story from the Gospels.

So the next week after Ruth, Usi and I finished our tea and snack, I brought out my Pidgin New Testament and read the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. Ruth followed along with me, correcting my pronunciation often, and Usi listened attentively.

The following week I did as I had done before and read the parable of the four soils. Only this time after I was finished reading, Usi started talking to Ruth in pidgin. I caught pieces of what she was saying and realized they were discussing the parable.

The next week I read about the sinful woman anointing Jesus’ feet, and again I realized that Usi was repeating the whole story back to Ruth and I in her own words, and Ruth was correcting her from time to time.

2 June 03 023By the fourth week, I was curious as to what Usi was doing, so I asked her, “Usi, would you like to read the parable this time?” Usi shook her head no and said, “I can’t read and my husband won’t allow me and my children to go to church. The only time I get to hear God’s Word is when you read from it on Friday mornings. Since my children can’t be here to listen, I’m repeating the stories so I can go back and tell them. They like for me to tell them stories about Jesus when they go to bed.”

Please pray:

  • That through Bible translation, the Kingdom of God would continue to permeate the areas of the world without God’s Word.
  • That God would prepare hearts to receive the seed of his Word.
  • That God would meet our financial need to his glory and the strengthening of our faith.


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