I have always known that the words we speak are powerful, but it was not until recently that I really realized the power, the true power of words. Or maybe I just remembered once again.
I have fallen in love with a church over here in Seoul. It is a Korean church and I am one of two foreigners who attends service there. They translate all of the songs to English for the two of us and I have someone who sits by me to translate the sermon, which is actually very frustrating. So… what makes me keep coming back? Love. The people that are a part of this church support each other and are incredibly kind. Last week I showed up for the first time without Natalie (the other foreigner, Canadian, who has been attending the church for over a year) and the greeters didn’t know what to do with me.
“Uh… EJ is not here yet… so you sit up front?” (EJ is a close friend in the church and fluent in English) the greeter asked as I went to sit in my normal seat in the back.
“Actually, I need to sit back here because I need the sermon translated.” I smile and use my hands a lot.
“Uh.. I am sorry, my English… I would like to speak with you but my English not good,” Greeter smiles and looks confused, it is his mission to try and get everyone as close to the front as possible, as they tend to gravitate towards the back.
“I sit back here (insert hand motions), so that when the sermon is translated (insert hand motions), I can understand and it won’t be too loud for everyone else (insert hand motions), ” I smile, he smiles and nods. “What is your name?”
“Uh… my name is Oh In Chul.” More smiles.
“Nice to meet you In Chul. I am Melody,” I smile back.
“I heard you are delightful.” In Chul says as he gives me a final smile, bows and begins to walk away as I stand there with my hand on my heart saying, “Oh… thank you so much!”
Even with a language barrier In Chul managed to make my day brighter to the infinite degree. Never underestimate the power of words. You never know whose day you are making by even the simplest phrase.
Korean Lesson #2: When Koreans introduce themselves they say their last name first, ‘Oh’ is In Chul last name. Spelling may vary when translated from Hanguel (or Hangul).
Korean Lesson #3: Hangul is the Korean alphabet.