Monday, November 2, 2009

Post It Notes

On a trip to Kenya, Africa a few years ago I had the privilege of visiting my friend Faye while she was interning at a mission for children and teens. It was great getting to see the place where she had lived for the last 8 months (complete with huge spiders and "interesting" toilets/hole in the ground...) and to visit an African zoo (where I almost got attacked by a lion! I'll save that for another post). She also accompanied me to the market where, in true tourist form, I was going to buy some souvenirs. I found a particular interesting painting on cloth that I thought my brother would like and asked the seller of the wares how much it would cost me. He told me a price and then both to mine and his surprise, my fair-haired, ROOTS Canada sweater-wearing old roomie started speaking to him in fluent Swahili...apparently telling him that the same painting cost a lot less in the market she had been to a few days earlier. The look on his face was priceless..."how and where did this obvious westerner learn such great Swahili?"

Well, I think it may have started in her room. :) I was a frequent visitor to Faye's family as I was her college roommate who was a long way from home...too long to go home for Thanksgiving and Reading Break. They so graciously 'adopted' me and I enjoyed many holidays with her family. On one of those trips, before Faye was to go on her first excursion to Kenya, I walked into her room and noticed that it was covered in Post-It Notes! They were everywhere...on the lampshade, the door frame, the window, the carpet, the door knob! I looked a little closer and saw that on each note was one word in what I assumed would be the language she was trying to learn - Swahili. So, a few years later, in a little market on a store roof, here was my friend - gone from Post-It Notes to prolific! I'm sure she would tell you that the process wasn't easy. The journey from mere words to flowing language would mean lots of memorizing, listening, observation, experimenting and sharing until it became almost second nature.

Faye's Post-It Notes reminded me of a passage of scripture from Deuteronomy 6.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates (NIV)."

Our journey to making God's Word a part of our lives is not always easy. It takes commitment and perseverance. Sometimes we will literally need to stick verses on our mirror or on the window above our sink. Sometimes we will need to make up a song to help us remember truth. Sometimes we will need to stop daydreaming about Swiss Chalet and listen to the pastor ;) Other times we will need to share it with others to make it more real to ourselves. Whatever it takes - it's worth it. Becoming "fluent" in God's truth and His promises is a blessing that will continue to strengthen, sustain and even surprise us.

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (NIV)." 2 Timothy 3:16-17


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