Saturday, October 8, 2011

"Я дитя Бога"


My son was given a t-shirt by a dear friend's family who are missionaries to Ukraine. The shirt reads, "Я дитя Бога". A little over a week ago, we were shopping at Trader Joe's, which is a friendlier grocery store than we are accustomed to in these parts. It's delightful to be spoken to, helped cheerfully, and generally treated like we are valued customers.

An older man approached us while we shopped to see if we were finding everything we needed. He recommended a few items based on our likes. Then he spotted my son's shirt. "You have Ukrainian writing on your shirt!" he said. He seemed quite obviously excited to see it. He read it out loud. He said his family was Ukrainian. He struggled with the translation, although he could sound it out. He asked Isaiah if he knew what it meant.

"I am a child of God," Isaiah said.

Today I went back again, and as I walked with my four children and their two cousins I had charge of (so my sister could retrieve her husband from an airport), I heard a man say, "I recognize you! You had a shirt on with Ukrainian writing on it!"

I looked up and smiled and stopped to talk for a minute. He looked confused at the increase of children. I introduced my niece and nephew. I told him my nephew was born  in Ukraine. He spoke Ukrainian to him. My nephew looked back at him questioningly.

I explained, "He's been back in the states since he was very young. His dad's flying back from Ukraine today."

"Do you speak any Ukrainian?" he asked him.

"Yes," my nine-year-old nephew said, "just a little bit."

"Can I hear it?"

"Я дитя Бога," he answered. 

"Do you know what it means?" the man asked.

"It means, 'I am a child of God.'"

I did not plan that, but it's interesting to me that two Saturdays in a row this man has received the message "I am a child of God" from nine-year-old English-speaking American boys in the language of his family in a land far from their origins.  I'm going to add him to my prayer list. His name is Gary.

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