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  • Writer's pictureKimberly Vernetti

Love is the Answer

Updated: Apr 17, 2018

I’ve had the privilege of going to minister in the Dominican Republic four times now and each time God uses the experience to teach me something new and exciting. The DR is where I first realized my calling to Women’s ministry, where I first prayed out loud with a group and where I first shared my testimony. What stood out to me on this year’s trip was communication. When I first went to the Dominican in 2010, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to communicate with the people because of the language barrier. They speak Spanish and sometimes a little English. I speak English and very little Spanish. This time I wasn’t as concerned. At church on Sunday morning I was reminded of the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis Chapter 11. At that time, all of the people spoke the same language and they began building a tower to reach to the Heavens in order to make a name for themselves and become like God. This was in direct disobedience to God’s earlier commands to move throughout the earth and cultivate it. So, the Lord confused the languages and scattered the people all over the earth. In this story, the people spoke the same language yet they used that blessing to come together against God. As a result of their sin we still have confused languages today. During worship service however, we sang part of the songs in Spanish and part in English and even though I didn’t understand the Spanish words and presumably the Dominicans didn’t understand the English words, we stood as one, united in our worship to God. We spoke different languages yet we were blessed as we came together glorifying God. Following worship, our group attended a bible study led by a member of another visiting team. My heart was still reeling from the joint worship when our teacher posed the question, “How do you communicate with people who don’t speak the same language as you?” This was the very question that had evoked fear in my heart six years earlier as I prepared to embark on my very first trip and though I no longer feared the question it was obvious God wasn’t done teaching me a lesson in this respect. For the remainder of the trip I made a mental note of the many ways we communicated with our Spanish speaking friends. We communicated with women and children at the hospital maternity ward by giving blankets and toys out with hugs, smiles and fussing and praying over their newborn or sick children. We communicated with women in a village that we have visited many times by greeting them with heartfelt hugs, holding their hands, spending time with them while sharing a craft and God’s word and giving them food for their families. We communicated with children at orphanages by making bracelets, painting faces, drawing in chalk, playing ball, holding them, hugging them, smiling at them, listening to them sing and painting with them. We communicated with ladies at the Lily House in the same manners, while teaching them how to make items to sell to provide for their families. Smiles, hugs, playing, time shared over crafts and tears, the common denominator to all of these communication styles is simply love. What I learned on this trip is that we don’t have to speak the same language to communicate. There are thousands of ways to speak to others who are different from us. Whether they are from a different country, a different side of town or just different from you period, we just have to show love to one another to communicate well. “We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

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