It was Wednesday and my husband was on one of his frequent business trips. Our church had been having Wednesday Night suppers for several years. This has become our Wednesday routine. The food is simple fair but any opportunity for me to take advantage of someone else in the kitchen, I’m all for it!
I was paying for our supper and one of our church staff, and a dear friend as well walked up to me with a smile on her face and asked a simple question,
“ Are you meeting anyone for dinner?”
The truth of the situation was no, I had not told anyone that I would meet them there and I was not going to be waiting on my husband as he was out of town, my answer was simple,
“Would you mind helping us out? You remember…., my new assistant?.....”
She then went on to explain what she wanted me to do.
My friend and staff member had recently hired a new administrative assistant. This beautiful young woman is from Korea. One of the areas she is coordinating is the facilitating of Korean Disciple Bible study class. This class meet on Wednesday evening after our Wednesday night supper program.
It seemed like a very simple request,
“All you need to do is read from the script and carry on a conversation with a Korean person, it will only take about 20 or so minutes”
At first I was a bit apprehensive. I was not at all sure that this was something I even wanted to do. But logic won out. I mean I can speak English and I can read from a simple script, I was there….so I made my way to the table.
I met a very sweet older Korean gentleman Mr. No (thank you Jesus that this name was easy to remember as well as say) we shook hands and sat down.
The instructions were simple enough. We had a short script in front of us. Very basic conversations. Line by line one after the other, I read my line and then Mr. No would read his line. I would strain to listen through his thick Korean accent. I am sure he was straining to decipher mine as well. Occasionally he would run across a word that would puzzle him. I gently point to the word and say it very slowly and explain how to say it correctly. Sometimes Mr. No will pull out his tape recorder and ask me to say the word into the tape recorder. He will under line words in the script with helpful notes for future reference.
We take speaking and reading the English language for granted. I had never given this a second thought. I understand that certain letters are silent, I understand that “c’ is sometimes the “s” sound and sometimes there are letters in words for no apparent reason.
Over the last few weeks this has become our weekly routine. After supper we make our way over to the “English Conversation Table” the scripts are there waiting for us and we sit and read through them. We venture into spontaneous conversation as well. But here is the thing, when people stop off at the table or the pastor comes over to say HI or others just to stop by out of pure curiosity, we smile and explain what we are doing and then Mr. no will announces “My teacher!” as he gesturers to me with a big smile.
I have to tell ya’ll this blows me away! But the truly amazing thing is this. That day, the very first time I sat and held a conversation with Mr. No I was just some strange woman, now I am “My Teacher”.
I have to also share with you that even after my initial apprehension what I realized was this, it was something that I already knew.
God blesses us abundantly, even in the small things. I was feeling ineffective and unappreciated in certain areas of my life. God sent this situation to shower down on me appreciation and effectiveness.
I also have to share that after the trauma of actually hearing myself on video when we all participated in “I see what you are saying!” I had to chuckle at God’s wonderful sense of humor.
It will be truly a miracle if Mr. No comes out of these practice sessions unscarred by my accent.