As we continue to learn the German language, Stephanie and I have the common experience of something strange happening to both of us. We find ourselves forgetting English words when we are writing and speaking! Just the other day, we saw an ad on Facebook for a hoodie that said (both in German and English skipping lines between languages) “Der moment when you Start denken Auf zwei Sprachen at the same Zeit.” (The moment when you start thinking of two languages at the same time)!
The same day, we saw a another advertisement for our hometown in Pennslyvania. A hotel was listed in Euros instead of Dollars because our browser recognizes our German IP address. That was very strange to see! The colliding of two worlds. Perhaps it is a healthy sign of transition that our brains are beginning to integrate our old culture with the new.
This week we celebrated our “half birthday,” or 6 months of serving here in Germany! In this short amount of time we feel like we have accomplished some important things. And while language learning is coming along slowly but surely, German fluency does not yet have a check next to it on our list of long-term goals. We continue to make many mistakes and remain in the humble posture of learners. We choose to look at this season of learning as a gift and embrace it with all of the surprises and adventures it brings.
Perhaps an even deeper lesson in this is the status all of us have as Christians in this world. As followers of Christ, we have one foot on the sand and one foot in the water. We live and work and have our being in this world. But we know this world is passing away, and our lasting hope and true identity has always been eternal. We were created for fellowship with our Father in Heaven. We speak the native language of this world, but each day we are learning the language of the Kingdom of God and we watch as it intersects, challenges, teaches and encourages us to grow.
In all of this, we build on the foundation we have been given in the Bible and in the life of Jesus. We are still very new as missionaries and the language barrier is a daily reminder of that. I can’t imagine we will be fully fluent during our first 2 years on “this side of the pond” but we continue to work and give our best efforts anyway…all the while enjoying the adventure and waiting with anticipation for the things to come.