The day I encountered my own heart-language

By Heather Oleniuk (Ghana) | Canada in North America

So there's a phrase people here often use when encouraging us in our language learning. They'll say, "N naa kukeri!" which means "You're doing well!" We appreciate their kindness.

But one day on my way home from town, I was passing a little store by our house where we often buy eggs and things. The owner was one of the first people to teach us some of the Sisaali language and we've gotten to know him and his family a bit.

So, as I neared the store I prepared my Sisaali greetings in my head. Although there was a woman making a purchase from him at the counter, I've learned that interrupting a conversation to greet someone is no interruption at all in this friendly culture.

As I passed by, I called out in Sisaali: "How's your afternoon?"

Then we had the following exchange:

"It's fine!"

"Is your wife well?"

"Oh, she's well."

"How's your work going?"

"Good, where are you going?"

"I'm going home to cook white-people food for my husband."

And we laughed.

But as I turned towards home, the woman at the counter who'd been observing our Sisaali interaction, called to me in English, "Well done! You've done well."

I was puzzled by the tears I felt in my eyes from her kind words, until I realized this was the first time I had ever heard those words spoken in English here. Although I had known the meaning of the Sisaali phrase that communicated the same encouragement, to hear them in English touched my heart deeply.

And as I walked home I was thinking, Oh... So this is why we're learning the heart-language of these people. It really does touch hearts in a special way!

Pray for:

• Heather to effectively learn Sisaali.

• all mission workers in the process of language learning. Pray that God uses their experience to share his love with every nation.


Can you support the ministry of Robbie and Heather Oleniuk? Donate today to partner with their ministry.

SIM Asset Publisher Portlet

Asset Publisher

SIM Asset Publisher Portlet

Asset Publisher

Related stories

Saaw and Dtang: Freeing a friend

Dtang had to drive past Saaw’s house on her way to the rice field each day. So, she told her about Jesus.

Curiosity after class

SIM worker Wade* found himself with a rare opportunity after he offered to discuss the Kingdom of God with his elementary level English class. One of his students, who is Muslim, said, “This is a really interesting topic ... Could we discuss this in the morning?”

The Mabaan Church stands for peace

In early December 2020, fighting broke out in the southern region of our Mabaan County between two groups of young men. Pastor Andrew felt called to intervene by asking for peace.

Running water today, living water tomorrow

Faithful Witness worker Peter noticed a need for safe drinking water in his new West African home. By providing a source, the team believes God is using this to open people’s hearts to the gospel.