A Way to Convey Love

Choi Hui-won from Namyangju, Korea

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When I was about to go on a short-term mission trip to Mumbai in India, I was half excited and half worried because I felt pressure to learn Hindi. Wondering if I really had to learn Hindi, I asked some members if it would be okay for me to speak only English. However, they all replied that I might have a problem or difficulty if I didn’t understand Hindi. I decided to learn Hindi after all, but I was confused because all letters looked alike to me.

Hindi has many difficult grammatical elements to learn, such as masculine nouns, feminine nouns, and singular and plural distinctions. Hindi has a complex grammatical structure; there is a distinction between masculine and feminine as well as between singular and plural in Hindi nouns and pronouns. In addition, unlike the Korean language alphabet consisting of 14 consonants, the Hindi alphabet has 35 consonants including the sounds that do not exist in the Korean language. For example, there are four Hindi consonants that make a similar sound to the Korean consonant ㄷ (디귿, digeut). However, the sounds are so slightly different that it is difficult to correctly identify the Hindi consonants just by listening to their sounds. It was not so easy for me to learn the Hindi language. I got on the plane after learning some basic expressions such as “Hello,” “God bless you,” and “Thank you.” It made me feel more burdened.

After arriving at the Mumbai airport, we completed the immigration procedure at around 3 a.m. When we were leaving the airport, exhausted, one of our team members looked outside and shouted with an excited voice.

“There are so many members!”

We were all surprised to see the local members come together to welcome us so early in the morning. Since the immigration inspection process took longer than expected, they had to wait over two hours .

“We love you!”

“Welcome to India!”

Although we had lived far away from each other, we were definitely one family. Otherwise, our first meeting wouldn’t have been so touching. We were very happy when we saw the handmade banners and received the postcards with cheer-up messages for us.

“Aane ke liye dhanyavaad (Thank you for coming).”

“Excuse me? . . . dhanyavaad?”

I could not understand what the local members said while making eye contact with each and every member of our team and holding our hands. With a smile, I repeated back to them what I heard, but I had no idea if it was correct. I tried talking to them in English, but a sudden silence fell and the members looked confused. Then I thought I was in trouble.

‘I should have studied Hindi a little bit harder before coming here. Why did I just sleep on the plane without studying it more?’

A flood of regret came over me. With a faint hope that I would be able to improve my spoken Hindi while staying there, I waited for the morning to come.

Fortunately, some local members could speak English. Making up for my weaknesses in Hindi through English, I was able to preach the words of the Bible together with the local members. As I thought that there would be no problem if things kept going this way, I felt somewhat relieved. However, my expectation was broken on the Sabbath day. As worship services were held in Hindi, I could not even open the Bible, not to mention to understanding prayers and sermons. When the local members greeted me in Hindi between worship services, I could only say “Pita Mata, dhanyavad (Thanks to Father and Mother)” and “Parameshvar aapko ashish de (God bless you).”

Then I keenly realized why I had to learn Hindi. Language is a channel for communication a way of expressing thoughts. Although I had so many things to share with them—Mother’s words of blessing, realizations I had obtained while preparing for my mission trip, and warm words of comfort for the members, I could not deliver the grace I had received from God. I felt very sorry about that.

‘What am I doing now? I’ve come all the way here to deliver Mother’s love.’

These thoughts weighed heavily on my mind. With the determination to start delivering God’s love in Hindi from then on, I took out the Hindi textbook out of my bag and opened it. When there was something I didn’t understand, I asked a Korean member for help, who had been on a long-term mission in India. I was able to improve my spoken Hindi faster than I expected.

“Aaj ham acchaa phal praapt karen (Let’s bear good fruit today)!”

“Hamare saath svarg ke raajya men jaaen (Let’s go to Heaven together)!”

When I said something to the local members in Hindi, though haltingly, they liked it very much. They opened their eyes wide in surprise, applauded me with bright smiles, and gave me a thumbs-up, saying, “Excellent job!” Finally, I could speak what I really wanted to say to them.

“Mata parameshvar aap se bahut prem karti hai (Heavenly Mother loves you so much).”

When I said this to them, both of us shed tears. Although I was not good at speaking Hindi, I had no problem in conveying my heart.

The local members participated in the short-term mission schedule with us. When I saw them while struggling with the language, they looked really great. India has 15 official languages. Just thinking about it makes me feel dizzy, but the members in Mumbai speak English, Gujarati, Tamil, Marathi, Bengali, and Telugu, as well as Hindi as their basic language. When they go out to preach, they teach people the Bible in the language of each listener. At first, I thought they could naturally speak in other languages as they had been living in India for a long time. Only after studying Hindi could I realize that nothing could be done by itself. I could imagine how much effort all the members must have made to do so, and it touched my heart deeply.

I also thought about how many members must have put forth effort and sacrifice to preach the gospel to the whole world. Since they went through this process, we are now able to preach joyfully and quickly while walking on the smooth path. It’s also thanks to God’s help and the members’ efforts that our short-term mission team was able to reap this precious fruit despite our poor language skills.

Heavenly Father came down to this earth to save His children and revealed the secret of the gospel to us by speaking words that we could understand. Whenever an Overseas Visiting Group visits Korea, Heavenly Mother says “God bless you!” and “I love you!” to each and every member in their own language. The members in India were following in the footsteps of God by learning even minority languages in order to deliver the good news of salvation to everyone with earnestness to save even one more soul.

God has blessed me to directly hear the voice of God, who came to Korea at the ends of the earth in the east, and to understand even the deep meaning of God’s word. From now on, I will study the foreign languages hard to convey the love and grace, which I have received, to all our heavenly family members around the world. Of course, I should not just improve my language skills. I will also study the Bible diligently to realize God’s love and put it into practice. It’s because I know that people of all nations around the world come into the truth after listening to the message we preach about God’s love, not the language itself that we speak fluently.