Paul and I have been studying Japanese full time since we arrived here in Japan over 18 months ago. I recently graduated language school but speaking, studying and practicing Japanese is a major part of life that takes up mental and emotional energy, time and resources. It can be both incredibly encouraging and exciting, and also terrifying and debilitatingly discouraging.
So I find it really interesting that, for the most part, this course has not been about how to communicate in Japanese, but simply how to communicate – the motivations, methods, reasons etc about why we communicate. It’s been a little surprising to receive training in English and to learn a new kind of communication skill in English considering the focus of our lives is so much on learning Japanese.
But I get it.
In some ways language FEELS like everything. It is consuming. So much of life is really hard when you can’t speak the local language. Try and imagine not being able to communicate with people for one day (or even just one hour!). It is huge. And yet, somewhat counterintuitively, it is not everything. Language is simply a skill. Skills are things we can learn, even if through great struggles.It’s not simple, it’s not linear, and it is entirely different for everyone, but at the very basic level, speaking a language is simply another skill.
But loving Jesus, christlike character and living for him are not things that we can simply learn. These things are not skills but go to the very core of our being. For me, this course has been a reminder of Jesus. Who he is, how much he loves us, and how very important and urgent it is that we share the good news that we know and love with others, using every opportunity we are given. For his glory alone.