Multicultural Relationship

EPCOT, Languages, and Friendship

Last week, my family and I had the chance to go to a few Disney parks. My son’s favorite was Animal Kingdom, because of the animals. My daughter like Magic Kingdom, because of the roller coasters (mostly Space Mountain!). And my favorite park is EPCOT. Imagination and the countries of the world…what more could you ask of a theme park? I could literally spend hours just walking around the different country exhibits at EPCOT. In fact, my favorite part of the day was sitting at an African outpost, watching a man from Nairobi, Kenya carve a wooden face. I could have sat there all day. I greeted him with a warm, “Jambo!” and he was surprised.

Each of the park workers (aka “cast members”) wears a name tag that tells their country of origin. My habit was to say something to them in their native language whenever I could. During our time at Disney I spoke in Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, English, Spanish, Ki-Swahili, French, Creole…and each time I received a look of surprise. The most common response was, “How do you know my language?” And my most common answer was, “I have this friend from ___________ and they taught me.” I realized how much my life has been enriched by friends from different countries who have taught me some of their language and culture. [To all of these friends- you know who you are- THANK YOU!] I am grateful that GOD has made me part of His family, and has given me brothers and sisters from all over the world. Behold what manner of love that we have been called children of GOD…

As I consider language, and the significance of speaking to someone in their heart language (even if it is just a greeting or a short phrase!) I am reminded of John chapter 1. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” The very Word of God, Jesus, became like us…came to our turf…spoke our language…He met us where we were. He did not say, “you have to learn my language to speak to me.” He drew near us. He became like one of us. Incarnational ministry is a ministry that imitates Christ. And incarnational ministry means that we should meet people where they are- learn their language- sing their music- walk in their sandals.

2 thoughts on “EPCOT, Languages, and Friendship

  1. That’s so fun. Last week as I was getting ready to interview for a worship director position I found out the senior pastor lived in Canada. I was studying some French before my interview. But during the interview he told me he didn’t speak French. He actually served at a Korean church. It’s funny how God worked that out. I was trying to prepare for this pastor’s heart language, but God prepared this pastor first. LOL.

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