I just returned from a 10 day mission trip to Niger, Africa. It was an incredible trip that I believe has changed me. Over the next few weeks and months I will be working to write out different instances and moments where God opened my eyes in a new way. May God speak through me as He spoke to me to change your heart as well.
Less than a week ago I was in 100 degree weather with people whose skin pigment was a tad darker than my own. They didn’t mind my awkward dance moves or my sweaty skin. Their deep smiles and clammy hands quickly captured my heart. I was in the midst of men, women and children whose deepest desire was to be known and loved. And if I’m honest, that too is my deepest desire.
During a mere 10 days, I witnessed God’s love for these people in tangible, miraculous ways. And as God showed up I experienced a love for these people that went deeper than I thought possible. I wept as they wept. I laughed as they laughed. And as they held my hand they also held my heart.
There were two moments where I was struck with the truth that love goes beyond language.
The first moment was during our second morning at our women’s conference as we spent time in worship together. The only instruments were a small drum, a noisy tambourine and twenty something voices lifted in praise together. And as we sang in French (a language I still don’t understand) there was a tangible expression of joy and love between the women. We danced and sang and laughed together as we praised God for all He is and has done. In the midst of a dusty and hot room my heart burst with praise; the thankfulness to God echoed in all our hearts regardless of the language we spoke.
The second moment was on that same day. Midway through the day as we waited for lunch a few members of our team played with some of the school children outside of the church. As I joined a circle playing “pass the water bottle” I noticed the little girls starring at me. Now I’m a blonde haired, blue eyed, glasses wearing lady and so I chalked the starring up to those factors. As we continued to play the game one little girl standing next to me continued to stare. After a period of time lunch showed up and we had to go inside to eat. As we walked to the door the children followed and this little girl grabbed my hand. Such a simple gesture and to have such trust put in me as a stranger was sobering. I didn’t speak her native tongue but I did speak a language that went deeper: love. And so as we waited for the meal to be served I held her hand and loved her.
Love, God’s pure love, is not confined by language. His love that encompasses joy and peace and praise is a language all its own. I won’t soon forget these two moments where love spoke louder than any language. One moment where hearts were one in overwhelming awe of the One who loves us all and another where hearts were connected by simple trust and sweaty hands.