Thursday, May 18, 2006

Be Slow To Speak

We all know that words can be emotionally and intellectually compelling. A phrase, a sentence, an intentional pause meant to capture the attention of the audience before unloading a specific point, represents the power of verbal communication. This past week, listening to testimonies of newly appointed missionaries, two stand out.

“I fell in love with Panama…after the eighth day,” said one young woman recounting her two-week fact finding trip to Central America. The weather was hot and humid when she first arrived, but she obviously adjusted and in the remaining six days, allowing her to fall in love with the country she and her husband were called to serve. After six months on the field, with the humidity a constant reality, the foreign language that will be the enemy before it becomes a friend, the realization that going home is more than a week away, time will tell if they will still be in love with their adopted country of service.

“I hated Mexico,” another woman confessed. “I hated it so much that I actually prayed that God would do something to remove me from the field. I even prayed, I embarrassed to admit, that God would give me cancer so I could come off the field.” That was over ten years ago, and now this lady, who really does love the field she has worked in, is battling ovarian cancer. She and her husband will return to Mexico City in a few weeks, to spend as much time there before her health deteriorates to the place that she must come home.

We all say things that years later we wish we would we could retract. I guess that is why the scriptures reminds us "to be slow to speak."