"I've been in jail the last 21 days..."
"You are a pastor, right?" said our electrician. Knowing that this is usually a pretense to something big that will follow and this time it would be in Spanish, I hesitantly said, "Yes..."
"Well, I have been in jail the the last 21 days..." From there Miguel, a professing believer whom I have gotten to know pretty well over the last six months since every appliance of ours has broken at least once, went on to tell me a story about his son getting his girlfriend pregnant, the girlfriend's father beating Miguel's son with a pistol and then Miguel finding the father and shooting him in the leg for revenge for his son. He then looked at me and said, "Everything is out of control. What should I do?"
Realizing my the magnitude of the situation and my uncertainty of being able to communicate what I wanted to in Spanish, I prayed silently to the Lord to help my Spanish and give me wisdom. Praise God - he did. I was able to give some pretty direct counsel to Miguel about repentance and forgiveness - forgiving the other father. We talked about the parable of the unmerciful servant. Some of this was hard to swallow for him. I challenged him to get before the Lord and gave him some Scripture to read, and we prayed together. By this time he was crying.
Many things struck me about this but two in particular stood out. First, the Lord allowed me to communicate clearer than I would have thought possible. I am confident it was not perfect but it was certainly sufficient. Secondly, by God's providence I had just been learning the particular grammar rules for giving someone counsel, to express my desire for what I want for another person, and to correctly express emotion in the way I needed to for this situation (these are some subjunctive rules for you Spanish experts out there).
Overall, I am thankful for the this opportunity to ministry to Miguel and for how far my Spanish has come in the six months since being here. Please pray for Miguel.