A Place to Belong

Last Sunday morning was a tough one for me. I want so much to be able to have good discussions with people in the Slovak language. But, I can’t always say what I want to say, or understand the responses from my sweet friends who try to use the simplest words they know. I had a couple of frustrating conversations early on in the morning. I just wanted to be able to speak and understand with better fluency than was happening that particular morning. I felt like I was working so hard, but there are so many words that I don’t know yet. I just felt overwhelmed. We have been in the country now for seven months now, and we’ve been really working on language for at least five of those. But, some days it is just hard. We are so blessed to be deeply loved and accepted by our local church family, and the worship there is always is wonderful. But some mornings, I still feel like such a foreigner – like such an outsider. And this was one of those mornings.

communionThen it came time for communion. An act of celebrating community: not just with this community, but with the community of faith all over the world. It was an act that needed no translation for me. It was an act that brought me back to myself – reminded me that I am part of this beautiful community of faith, as well as a part of communities of faith all over the world. And nothing about that makes me feel like a foreigner or an outsider. That very act of taking the bread and the wine reminded me that I am loved, that I belong, and that I am no outsider in the family of God.

The Lord’s Supper has so many symbols, but this symbol of community and of the whole body of Christ struck me this morning. And the song that we sang while we took the elements said (loosely translated) “We have so many reasons, so many reasons to thank you, God.”

And my heart was filled with gratitude in the midst of difficult feelings. I always have a place to belong no matter where I am.

5 thoughts on “A Place to Belong

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  1. That was beautiful and so well said. Thinking about the community of believers all over the world celebrating communion together is glorious. Thank you for sharing your heart and for the reminder that we do always have a place to belong. Love you guys.

  2. I do not practice my Slovak like I have in the past but it is amazing how, now that I am not struggling with it, I will look at a Facebook message or hear it on a website and say “Hey! I understood that!!!”.

  3. Oh Dear Tanya and Jon! Your words so resonate with my life a in Italy. I still recount (just last week!) the time the pastor asked me to pray in church in Italian and I carefully wrote it out…as I was headed up to pray I vowed to the Lord that I would never again fear praying in front of people in my own language! 🙂 He has sure let me put that vow to action over the years in my ministry here at Keswick Christian School. God is SO good to work ALL things together for our good! Love you and praying for you!

  4. Dearest Tanya, I remember when J.C. and Jonathan Gascon first came to VA vividly. I was working on Blackstone Baptist’s Christmas Play & the boys came to participate knowing only ONE WORD in English and that was ‘no’. The NEXT practice I had revised our pageant so that the boys would have speaking roles and the other children helped them learn where to stand, sit, etc., just by sitting beside them. That was one of the best ‘communion of spirit’ experience I have ever had & the kids LOVED it!. We pray for you, Jon & the girls often. Jan, Mom, & HQ

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