My sweet friend has a child with CHARGE syndrome. Don't ask me to explain it, if you want to know - find it on a web site that will give you some general information. Part of this syndrome involves being deaf. Obviously, sign language would be a factor in this little boy's life and ultimately part of the families communication. Over a short period of time, God gave me a heart for this family and especially my sweet friend. It occurred to me that if I were to love her, really love her, I would learn their language. Her life, her needs and the needs of her family. She also has identical twins. If I wanted to love her, really love her, I would learn to tell them apart.
In my heart, God slowly taught me that just as a missionary with a heart for a specific people group, would spend years knowing the language and culture of the people they are going to minister to... they would learn their language. I am now convicted that if I am to love the "people" group that I feel God has called me to, I will learn their language. I may not do it perfectly, but over time, I will learn. I will learn to tell the twins apart and I will help them learn to love their brother with the few signs I know and am able to pass along.
God planted seeds in my family long ago. Damon learned to sign as a small child and had 50 signs he either displayed or understood by age 1. Logan is two and understands and displays signs as he can articulate. We aren't pros, but we know a little and are learning more. If we can learn their language, how much more will we be able to enter into their experience and really, truly love them.
God has given me a gift in my sweet friend, she is not some abstract name I've pulled out of a "needs" or "ministry" web page, but a carefully and strategically placed into my life... just two blocks away who has changed my life and my heart. May God continue to give me a desire for my friend and her family, even when times get tough (with either of us - lol)! We're in it for the long haul. Not just a passing interest of people who have this "issue" that could easily become a side show. I feel protective. I'm not about to introduce them to people who have a passive interest, invest nothing and walk away. But, that too is up to God who is sovereign and knows and deals with "what's up"!
I love my friend and her family and thank God for them every day. May God continue to bless them and bring people in their lives who will be strategic about their love and care enough to learn their language - not for selfish ambition, but for a deep love of people.