The only English this woman knew was: “No English. Swahili.”
I blinked at her. She had stopped her car in front of the abortion center as I waved our literature and smiled. She pointed to the abortion center indicating that was her destination. However, my Swahili is not much better than my Bengalese. Which is non-existent. What now? A baby’s life was at stake.
In most large cities, you will likely encounter women who don’t speak English well (or at all) coming for abortions. Unfortunately, the gift of tongues is not something I have been blessed with, nor am I a quick study of foreign language. Maybe you can relate. This blog will help you confidently approach and deal with any woman of any nationality as you seek to persuade her to choose life.
Ideally, in the network of friends and supporters, we can find someone who speaks the language of the mom we are encountering. However, in the situation I faced with the Swahili woman, I didn’t have time to start searching. In the first precious moments of a car stopping for a sidewalk counselor, it is critical that you use that time to convince the woman you are trustworthy. I instantly pulled out my phone and went to my translator app. As I began speaking Swahili (or my phone did!), the woman smiled.
Many people use google translator, but I find it slow and limited. I stumbled upon an app called Instant Translator, and I have been very impressed by it. (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/instant-translator-pro/id1021277663)
There is a free version of the app but it has limited use in the sidewalk setting. Only 20 exchanges of discussion can occur which is usually not enough. I bought the pro version ($5.99) and have found it to be invaluable in foreign language discussions with abortion-minded women. There are a huge number of languages available (including Swahili.) The ability to talk back and forth is easy, and you can see what you have written to be sure the foreign translation (which is spoken and written) is correct. You also can save the entire discussion, which is a useful training tool or reminder of all you said.
I have used this tool to converse in Spanish, Swahili, Russian, Vietnamese, and other languages many times as a sidewalk counselor. Once the Swahili woman began talking with me, she quickly admitted that she didn’t really want to abort but didn’t know what else to do. I don’t remember if she came on our mobile ultrasound or not, but I do remember that my (inevitable) discussion of her belief about God led to me sharing the Gospel in Swahili. She not only chose life that day for her baby, but submitted her life to Jesus. And I led the Gospel discussion IN SWAHILI.
Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing. I have seen these sorts of impossible situations nearly every day at the abortion center. If you learn nothing else from our Sidewalks4Life essays, learn this: God will equip those He calls…and sometimes He answers in Swahili.