Posts Tagged immigrants

Translation and Heart Language

When you go to church, do you understand what is happening around you? Do you read the words of the songs and sing them with comprehension of what they mean? How does the meaning of the words soften your heart, illuminate your mind, and excite your emotions?

For a lot of immigrants in our congregation, they are not comprehending most of what is being said or sung in the worship. Our desire for them as they assimilate into American society is that they learn English in order to maintain employment and to engage with the broader community. However, as quickly as one group of immigrants is getting assimilated  there’s another group walking in the door who is not. At the same time, there are segments of the new immigrant community that may not ever be forced to master English. Specifically, the elderly and stay-at-home moms who do not have to master English in order to enter the workforce.

I was in high school when I went on a short-term mission trip to Miami, FL. There is a PCA church there that we led a VBS program for which is made up of Haitian immigrants. The service that we attended was entirely in the Haitian Creole language. It was a cool experience, but I didn’t understand one bit of it. It was fun to try out or one Sunday, but can you imagine that experience every Sunday? If the church is going to be a reconciled community with immigrants, we need to address the issues of worshiping in our heart language.

“Heart Language” is the language that you have grown up speaking. It’s the one you mostly intimately understand. American’s don’t really get this concept because most of us don’t know what it’s like to be multi-lingual. At NCF, we offer a sermon that is preached in French and now Spanish (a new addition last month) in addition to our regular English sermon. In the next few months, we are going to begin experimenting with ways to incorporate these heart languages more comprehensively into our worship services by offering translation of English songs, scriptures, and maybe even eventually announcements.

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Rape of a Nation: A Short Film on The Democratic Republic of Congo

Here’s a video I watched online today about the Democratic Republic of Congo. There is a community of Congolese immigrants in our church. I’ve grown to love Congolese music and worship. Please cry out and mourn for the Congolese people. Our Father sees from heaven, and His kingdom will prevail against the gates of hell.

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My Refuge

This song was written to encapsulate a big part of the vision of New City Fellowship which reflects that commitment of God’s Kingdom to be a refuge for the fatherless, the alien, and the widow. The gospel of Jesus Christ is more than personal salvation, it’s a gospel about the restoration of the whole creation and a new world order of justice and mercy. Stylistically, I took this song in a soul/gospel/rock feel that is a kind of Staple Singers sitting in with the Beatles. Enjoy!

My Refuge

Chorus:
You’re my refuge
My refuge O Lord
You’re my refuge
In the midst of the storm
Though the mountains my fall
and the earth give way
You’ll still be my refuge
at the end of the day

Aliens and strangers
from across the lands
are here on our doorstep
living the best they can
Famine and warfare
corruption and greed
have made these people homeless
brothers and sisters in need
Lord you were my shelter
when I was a stranger too
now when I see injustice
I want to be a refuge like you

To Chorus

In the heart of the city
a young man is there
abandoned by his father
but nobody seems to care
everyday is a battle
a struggle to stay alive
he can’t trust nobody
if he wants to survive
Lord you were my Father
when I was an orphan too
now when I see injustice
I want to be a refuge like you

To Chorus

Lord you were arrested
and falsely accused
abandoned by your best friends
tortured and abused
willingly you suffered
and were killed on a tree
you endured this injustice
to save sinners like me
Lord you were my ransom
when I deserved to suffer too
you gave me your compassion
So I could be a refuge like you.

To Chorus

“My Refuge”
Words and Music by Kirk Ward
© 2008 Kirk Ward Music

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I Love My Wife

Sarah is getting up early this morning to help out with a new ministry in our church called FORAI which stands for “Friends of immigrants and refugees.” Its a micro-business designed to give immigrant and refugee women an opportunity to create extra income by learning a hand craft. What a “Proverbs 31 woman” I married!

Sarah has a new blog on wordpress also.

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