Back in November, I had the opportunity to go on the Life Teen retreat for our area with Melanie, Amanda, and Alyssa. A religious community called the Community of the Beatitudes ran the retreat. I have been working in youth ministry for the past five years as a core member, and I have always had some sort of responsibility. Well, that wasn’t the case on this retreat. We were called to simply be there and dive into the retreat with the teens. That sounded great at first; but, alas I still didn’t know the language as well as I hoped I would have by that time. The whole weekend seemed to be a German language overload, to say the least. It was very frustrating for me. I couldn’t have anything more than a simple conversation with the teens because their English was only as good as my German.
After the retreat, some of the teens shared about their experiences at Mass in front of the congregation. Of course, I didn’t understand what they were saying. Later, it was shared with me that the Lord moved powerfully in their hearts during their time on retreat. They really wanted to go deeper. Being at the retreat was very hard for me, but it really put a conviction in my heart to be more intentional about participating more heavily in language class and during our study times. As hard as it is to be in class, I now know how important it is for me to learn the language.
We are not here in Europe just to hang out; we are here to proclaim the Gospel to those who don’t know it. If being in another country requires me to learn a new language, then I need to stop sitting around while hoping it happens with a snap of a finger. I need to actually work at it. It’s going to be tough and frustrating, but this is where the Lord has called me to be. So, it’s time to suck it up and learn the language. To quote Eric Matthews, “Life’s Tough Get A Helmet!” Please pray that I may learn the language so I can better serve the Lord in Europe.