Saturday, November 19, 2011

The French Connection

When I was 16 and living in upstate New York, my family traveled to Montreal for a weekend getaway. I was studying French in high school, and my father thought it would be great for me to hear the language spoken around me.

In our hotel room, I discovered a New Testament in the traditional place: the drawer of the bedside table, placed by the Gideons. This NT was special, though. It was written in both English and in French. The pages were divided in half, so that while you were reading a verse in English, your eye could travel to the right and see the same message in French.

I wanted to take the Bible home with me, but my father said no. We'd write a letter to the Gideons, asking them how we might purchase a Bible like that.

About a month later, a package arrived in the mail for me ... and it was from the Gideons. Inside was one of the hotel Bibles with a beautiful note, saying they wanted me to have it for free. I took that Bible with me everywhere. In church on Sundays, as Scripture was read, I'd read it silently in French. I used that Bible in my personal devotions as I continued to study French in college.

I've lost a lot of the language knowledge in the past 25 years since graduating. But recently on Twitter, something interesting happened.

A person in another country suddenly started sending me Bible verses ... in French. His name is Mario, and he lives in La Ceiba, a port city on the northern coast of Honduras. When he sends me the Bible verses, he also includes the names of two or three other people who seem to be French.

I don't know why Mario decided to tweet to me in French, especially because he's in Honduras and I'm in the United States. His native language would obviously be Spanish. But I realized one thing: I suddenly was reawakened to connecting with other believers in their language.

Mario tweets Bible verses in various languages to people all over the world. I just happen to get his French tweet messages. What he's doing is taking on the role of missionary in cyber space -- ministering to those of us in other countries, despite our language, despite our culture.

I started to decipher the French and figuring out my old French grammar lessons. When something is too hard, I check it out on Google Translate. Then I go a step further. I look up another verse ... and I send it back to Mario ... in French.

We exchange one or two verses per day. And every day, when I get that tweet from Mario and go to the trouble of sending one back to him, something amazing happens: I feel the vital connection, the encouragement, the joy of sharing with another believer. When he sends my verses out to his 3,000 followers on Twitter, I realize that in French, I in turn am encouraging French-speaking believers, because Mario is willing to take that step for me.

We are commanded: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." (Col. 3:16)

Mario took that command and acted on it. I thank God for Mario. Through Mario, I've rediscovered the meaning of brotherly/sisterly encouragement -- and the ever-vital mission of sharing with the world the message of Jesus's sacrifice and love.


  1. Car rien n'est #impossible à #Dieu. _Luc 1:37

    For with #God nothing shall be impossible_Luke1:37

  2. "Con #Cristo no Importa lo que Venga.... La Historia Vamos a Cambiar. " / "With Christ # whatever comes .... Let's Change History."» Followme/ Sigueme~ Twitter: @Mario_Galeas