I can’t speak or understand Chinese yet, but I’ve gotten to where I can recognize some words in speech and even a few in writing. I’d really like to keep going with it, and was considering a school in Taiwan, Hong Kong, or the mainland. But Korean seems more useful for the work I am doing.
I like learning languages in general, so I’m not sure why I have this preference for Chinese. But we have forty times more Korean guests than Chinese, and maybe half speak neither English nor Spanish (nor any other language we have on staff). So I’m praying/thinking about which to do. God says He gives us the desires of our hearts when we delight in Him. But I also have the desire to better serve the pilgrims He sends here.
And then along comes the question, “Why?” Why do we have to study languages at all? Jews from many nations all understood the worship on the day of Pentecost, and I am not aware of any Scripture about studying language. Paul was almost certainly a polyglot, but did Peter, James, and John—the Galilean fishermen—use interpreters after leaving Jerusalem? Or was koine Greek more universal than English is today? (English is not as universal as many Americans think.)
Shortly after writing that, in our meditation session, part of the reading was John 3:8—“The wind blows wherever it wants … So is everyone who is born of the spirit.”
I am still researching (and praying and “counting the cost”), but tentatively January in Taiwan for Chinese and February/March in Korea for Korean.