I just want to be understood

Miscommunication with foreign languagesThis morning as Krista was walking Alex over to the kindergarten, Alex asked her, “Do you know how to say ‘OK’ in German?”

Krista responded, “OK.” Which is true as nobody really knows what OK stands for because its an acronym, right? Anyway, Krista then asked him, “Do you know how to say ‘Come here!’ in German?” Alex then shook his head and Krista said, “Komm heir!” which sounds just like the English saying.

Alex then responded, “Well, do you know how to say ‘You’re crazy’ in German?” Krista didn’t know so Alex replyed, “It’s ‘You’re crazy in German’!”. Smart kid.

Language school is wonderful. We are learning so much and just feel the confidence building as we are able to answer our teacher, talk with her and other students using our small German skills, and just feel like we are grasping what we are being taught. That is until we go out into the “real world”.

This afternoon, Krista and I went into a bakery to just get a snack while Alex was in a special thing for kids. We were so ready to use our German to order and pay for a couple of quarkballs (kinda like a round doughnut but with a kind of cheese intermixed into the batter), a Sprite, and a pretzel. However all of my confidence was crushed after I ordered the pretzel as she said in German that she didn’t have any pretzels and then gave me two choices of which I had no clue as to what they were. I just stood there like a deer caught in the headlights. I didn’t know what to say. I could see the pretzels right behind the clerk. How could she say she didn’t have any? I just wanted to point and grunt like an ape at what I wanted. After a moment of panic, an older German lady who was staying next to me made a comment to the clerk (my gut tells me she was questioning my intelligence level) to which the clerk just responded “Ja!” (Which is German for “yes” for those of you, which I think there’s only two, who know less German than I)

Finally, I realized what she was saying. Not because of the words she had used but because I actually looked at the basket of pretzels (and because Krista was prodding me to pick the first choice – I think she might have known what the lady meant) She was right; she had no pretzels as we would think of them. Ya know, in that heart shape with the criss-cross in the middle. She had preztel material that was shaped like a gigantic knot and some material that was braided like a rope. And that’s when it dawned on me that she had said the German word “Knoten” (guess which one that is). So I said “Knoten, bitte” (Knot, please) and she promptly turned around and retreived one for me. After I paid (which is easier since the cash register has a display telling you the amount), Krista and I moved to sit down at a table. Well, that when it happened again. The clerk asked if we were eating here and I replied, “Ja” (see above for translation) and then she asked another question. I again stopped dead in my tracks and my eyes got real big (and I was real thankful the older German lady had already left). Finally, the clerk pulled out a plate and offered it to me. The German word for plate is “Platte”.

Standing in a bakery with food ready to go, I felt so lacking. How am I suppose to be used by God to reach the lost when I can’t even get a pretzel ordered properly? But then I know I can relax and know that God is the One with the plan and not I. He was the One that made miracles happen so that we could make the move here. He was the One that had found us the perfect place to live and made it so that we are having a smooth transistion to the German culture. He is the One who is providing us time to go to language classes and He is the One that is going to get German into our heads.

He is also the One that is going to reach lost and has invited us to be along for the ride. What’s the ride God has invited you to be on?


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