They just look at me with blank stares. I think they want me to leave them alone. They probably do not understand my "broken" Chinese, or cannot understand English. I wish I could speak Bahasa so I can converse with these two Indonesian ladies. They are here at the church waiting for their wards to finish a church meeting. My family and I are also waiting for this meeting to be over so we can have lunch with a Chinese family from this Feng Shan Free Methodist Church.
The Bible says that we should love the foreigners living in your area. (Leviticus 19:33-34) We should love them from the heart. (Leviticus 19:17-18) But, why is it so hard to love foreigners? Is it because of the language problem? But, couldn't we show love even without using words? Can't our smiles project God's love? Isn't a kind gesture enough to display the inner longings of our hearts? I say "yes" to all these questions above. Learning the local (or person's) language helps, but the main issue here is the starting point. For most Christians, the starting point is: "How can I help these foreigners in my area?" And when we begin with this question in our subconscious, no matter what we say or do, and through our gestures and facial expressions, these foreigners understand our starting point.
And this starting point of wanting to help them is what these two Indonesian workers saw in me. They do not need my help. They just want a friend. What I should have done is bring my family and sit with them and listen to them. I could have asked them to teach my children how to say "hello" in Bahasa Indonesia. This would have broken the ice, and they would have felt more included in our church life. My problem was my starting point. The next time I see them in church, I need to change gear and begin with the assumption that I can learn something from them. They can teach me and my family. I need to listen. They can tell us about their home and their culture, and, of course, the first few conversation would be difficult, but I think as they keep talking, they will feel the welcome that only God gives to every longing heart.
Love God and love the foreigners in your area. (Matthew 22:36-40) Love them with all your heart.