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The Feast of Pentecost - May 23, 2021

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

Many years ago I had an Aunt and Uncle who were missionaries to Czechoslovakia but they lived in Vienna, Austria. We spent a Christmas there, all of us crammed in their little apartment but it didn’t matter. One day my little brother and I were in the back courtyard being rowdy throwing snowballs, too noisy I suppose. Then this woman came out and began to yell at us in German, I mean really letting us have it and we couldn’t understand a word. She stormed off and returned with two snow shovels. Well, we knew what that meant. We spent the next hour shoveling snow. At one point my brother asked me, “Wasn’t Hitler Austrian?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Makes sense.” And then…the same woman came back but this time with two steaming styrofoam cups of hot chocolate, patted us on the heads and walked away.

Lost in translation, but we found a way to speak.

Fast forward in time a bit and I mowed lawns and bussed tables all year so I could go on the Senior trip to Paris. Me and a few friends found ourselves out late one night looking for the part of town the sponsors told us to stay away from. See we heard things about French girls, we heard they didn’t care if you were on the football team or not. But we were terribly lost about one o’clock in the morning, asking people for directions back to our hotel, but none would speak English. I turned to my friend and said, “Haven’t you had three years of French?” He said, “I don’t really pay attention.” “Well, can’t you at least try here.” So, he stopped the next gentlemen and had an exchange and then we kept walking. “Well…what did you say?!” I asked.

He said, “I asked him where a bathroom was. That’s all I know how to say.” Finally, we approached an older man, he couldn’t or wouldn’t speak English either but took out a pen and under a streetlamp drew lines and circles on a subway map – showing us the way.

Lost in translation, but we found a way to speak.

In my mid-twenties I was with a group of people working at an orphanage in Lima, Peru. Most of the children there, discarded and cast aside because they were born with physical disabilities. Many of them unable to speak and those that could spoke a language different than our own. The whole time I was there I kept bumping into my own entitled-ness, I kept coming rubbing shoulders with my selfishness, I kept wishing I was anywhere else but there. Unt