It’s easy to sit here and think you aren’t making any progress when it comes to language learning. Sure, you know a little more than when you arrived…you have a better grasp on the culture and language…but can you really understand people and share with them! I am so thankful that God has blessed me with 3 special opportunities this month. We certainly have been able to talk to people at least a little and we really have come a long way, but these instances were so encouraging. And I believe that as we trust God and spend more time here, He will give us more such opportunities.
We know a sweet, older woman that we met through a Bible study when we were here 2 years ago. She hosted the study a few weeks ago when some other people were out of town and it ended up that just Matt and another American guy were going, so Lydia and I went along, too. She is so gracious and speaks clearly and slowly, so she is pretty easy to understand. I was able to understand what she said and to speak to her relatively well. I also was able to undertand a little of the text (1 Peter 1) in the cyrillic Bible we had. But most precious was that God gave me the words to pray in Serbian (very shortly and simply) for our dear friend’s daughter who does not believe in Him.
We have been trying to build relationships with our neighbors by baking cookies. We’ll make a batch and try to visit one family each week. A week or so ago, we tried to take cookies to 2 families (both of which weren’t home) before we went to the door of a sweet, older couple we met shortly after we got here. They don’t speak any English, but they invited us in and we were able to visit with them in Serbian for almost 2 hours. Lydia certainly helps as she provides entertainment and comic relief, but we were able to enjoy coffee and converse on a variety of subjects that evening. And I even had the language to tell them that God is good and that He takes cares of us (in reference to Lydia being a happy, healthy baby). It wasn’t much, but just knowing and being able to share those few words of praise to God was a huge victory!
Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend a ladies’ conference in another town. I went with an American friend and our Bible study hostess. While the day was overwhelming in terms of being immersed in Serbian for an entire day, it was also a blessing to spend time with fellow sisters in Christ. Even if I couldn’t understand much, I could sing and pray. Later in the day, there was a testimony time and I had the privilege to share in Serbian (however poorly) how God brought us here and how thankful I was to be able to spend time with other believers.
In the grand scheme of things, these events may seem insignificant, but they were huge for me and I am so thankful that God (in His perfect timing!) sent these encouraging opportunities along just when He did. He is so good!!