For the fifth or sixth time I push the sound button on Google translate and concentrate all my listening power. My brow knits together and I lean forward as I star at the table top in front of me with unseeing eyes.
"Je vous remercie de l'audience et de répondre" an unknown french woman rattles off.
I think I've finally got that last syllable. After jotting down a memory prompt I put down my pen. Taking a deep breath I try the phrase for myself. It doesn't rattle off my tongue. Instead it gets stuck somewhere and does not even reach my mouth. Giving my head a quick shake to get it "unstuck" I try again. This time I manage a fairly convincing "Je vous remercie" but come to a grinding stop when confronted with "de l'audience". I preform a odd set of vocalizations and tongue flapping hoping this will somehow get me past this tongue twisting challenge. Eventually I spit it all out. I'm speaking French; slow, halting French.
I lay awake at night wondering "How will I ever be able to speak enough French to minister to the Chadian people's needs? How will I be an effective nurse...an effective missionary with this slow tongue of mine?" I try to remember how to say the simple prayer I had been memorizing. I can't remember and feel bad. O Lord, how?
After seeing a snake turn into a rod and his own hand cured of leprosy Moses still questioned God in fear.
"O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue"
I understand Moses' fear. I tremble with him and plead my own inability. But with him I can also hear the promise.
Thus saith the Lord: "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing , or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say."
I need not lay awake in fear tonight. The Lord's promise is sure.
Je vous remercie de votre promesse.
J'ai confiance en vous.
Au nom de Jésus