Use your Words

Posted by Tom.Blackwood on May 28, 2013

When our daughter was teetering on the line between toddler and child, like other little ones she would resort to cries, screams, and shouts to express displeasure or frustration.

The parental response was "use your words."

We hoped she didn't use the new words she learned from the neighbor, but we encouraged words. We would explain that we couldn't help unless we knew what the real problem was. 

The blog topic for this month grew out of Brent's idea on "the power of words." We all know how powerful words can be.

I ask you to consider the soul-crushing lack of power that comes from not being able to communicate. 

For the past 30 years, the local civic leadership has been harping on the idea of Dallas being "an international city." They wanted to position Dallas as a hub of global commerce and attract all that lovely foreign money. That's okay, but in the meantime, while the planners were planning, Dallas became a city of international people, many with no money. Most with no English. 

I'm not simply speaking of people from Mexico or Central America. There are schools in the Vickery Meadow area where over 20 languages and even more dialects are spoken in the children's homes.

There are families from all over Africa, Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia and all points in between. Many arrived here with nothing, having fled conditions most of us cannot imagine. No school anywhere has the resources to provide translation or instruction in that many languages. 

"Use your words."

Imagine not being able to understand what a doctor is saying about your child's condition. Imagine not being able to communicate with 911. Imagine the futility of a parent-teacher conference.

Job interview? Forget it.

You are, as it says in Exodus somewhere, "a stranger in a strange land."

As long as I'm going all theological on you, Deuteronomy continues the lesson: "You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt."

And Paul told the Galatians, "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus."

Plus, we've been told by Jesus that the most important thing we do on earth is to love our neighbors as ourselves. 

Sounds pretty clear to me. 

You can help to give the power of words to our neighbors. Our church, through your pledges and volunteer efforts, supports ELM, English Language Ministries, to teach English as a second language.

They need volunteers. 

You also support the Vickery Meadow Learning Center through your pledges. Guess what? They need volunteers.

Through the Mission Endowment Fund Grants, the church last year helped to enlarge the ESL program sponsored by the VMLC. Through a grant this year, we underwrote a portion of the Vickery Meadow Summer Reading Program which prevents kids from forgetting over the summer what they learned during the school year, and feeds them as well.

It's a great opportunity to help. 

Deacon Robert Fitz started the NorthPark Reading Angels to read to kids at Jill Stone Elementary in Vickery and members have pitched in to help. We need more angels. 

Look, this whole bringing about the Kingdom of God takes a lot of work.

Please, if you can, volunteer for one of these programs. You are not being asked to teach English. Just read to kids. Talk to people. 

Giving our neighbors the power of words will help them out of their present situation. It's a blessing to them, to our city and society, and I'm pretty sure it will be a blessing to you, too. 



Posted by Guest on
The great thing about teaching at ELM or Vickery is that you don't just help the students in your class, but you help their entire families. The tentacles are far-reaching.
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