Where is Your Accent From?

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As Development Assistant, I have the privilege of talking with many faithful supporters over the phone. Their donations make it possible for missionaries to go to unreached regions.

One recent conversation, with a donor whom I will call Frank, was quite inspiring.

“Where did you serve as a missionary?” Frank asked.

“I served in Southeast Asia.”

A few minutes later, following a lively discussion about Asia, Frank interjected, “Where were you born?” The tone in his voice hinted that he was searching for a particular clue. “Are you an American citizen?” he finally asked.

It dawned on me that he couldn’t place my unique accent. Here’s why . . . .

It all started when I spent a year as a student missionary in Korea, subsequently coming back speaking Konglish (Korean-style English). With puzzled looks on their faces, people asked me where I was from.


“No, where are you originally from?”

“I was born in Kentucky, but my parents are from Michigan.”

Some continued to press. I would then explain my year in Korea and how it changed my speech.

Following my Korean experience, I shipped off to college. There, my roommate had a lisp. After two years of rooming together, I added a lisp on top of my Korean accent.
Five years later, I was still occasionally questioned about my accent. My mom even commented that I was lazy in my speech because of the lisp.

My next experience with language immersion took place in Southeast Asia. I was single, so I rented a room from a local farmer. This arrangement provided optimal language learning opportunities. I was constantly surrounded by the language except while teaching. Learning this foreign tongue seemed to take a long time, but I gained an easy-to-understand accent. Years later, one friend commented that I was very easy to understand. My vocabulary was still limited, but my accent was clear.

Then, it dawned on me that my lazy tongue was a blessing. God had given me the ability to subconsciously match my accent to what I hear in my environment
Frank interrupted my story.

“So, what I hear you saying is, ‘By beholding, we become changed.’”

“Exactly! It is important to choose what we behold because what should be a blessing could also be a curse. What we behold will change us either for better or for worse.”

Dear reader, my question for you today is: What are you choosing to behold?

If you spend your time beholding video games, movies, or things of this world, it will show in how you spend your time and money and in your conversations. On the flip side, if you spend your time beholding our Savior, memorizing His word, and seeking first the Kingdom of God, it will show in lives touched by His grace, in your dedication to missions and will lead you to look for opportunities to share His love with those in need.

I invite you to behold the Lamb.

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