Language Matters: Learning a few key phrases in the language of your host country is essential if you are going to build relational bridges and avoid going into the wrong restroom by accident.
You have probably heard the old question:
What do you call a person that speaks only one language? An American.
It is amazing how learning just a few words and polite greetings will start to break down barriers. Making an effort in this area expresses that you care about other people and cultures.
In 25 years of cross-cultural ministry, I have never heard anyone complain that they learned too much language. So make the effort. You won’t regret it. Here are a few ideas to help you and your team;
- Expect that you will make some mistakes. Don’t worry about it. We all do.
- Invest in a couple of language guides that you can share as a team.
- Invite a native speaker to your team meetings to give some lessons.
- Learn a song in the language will be using.
- Encourage your team to get a language app for their phone. Here is a fun one: Where is the Bathroom?
Helpful Hint: We keep adding New Languages! One of the 20 helpful Widgets available in MisisonMakr is the Language Widget. We now have language helps available in Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, Czech and Bambara. This Widget gives you a fresh language phrase each time you log in. You can also download a 2 page phrase sheet to study at home and review at your team meetings.