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No Translation Needed

I prayed I could communicate with the Spanish-speaking homeless who'd come to our soup kitchen.

Person ladling out food
Prayer is a powerful force for good. At Guideposts, we believe in the strength of prayer to bring comfort, hope, and healing. Your generous donation today will help us continue to share the power of prayer with those in need. Together, through prayer and support, we can make a difference.

I volunteer at a soup kitchen in Santa Fe where you are as likely to hear Spanish as English. Many times I’ve wished I could speak Spanish, especially with two of my favorite regulars, whom I’ll call Juan and Miguel. Good thing Juan’s English is fluent enough that he can translate for Miguel, who speaks none at all.

“Hey, how’s it going?” I asked them one day.

Juan told me he and Miguel had been looking everywhere for work. “No luck,” he said. They’d run out of money and were sleeping in a nearby park. I could imagine how tough it was to find work, especially when you are homeless.

“Why don’t we pray about it?” I suggested, and waited for Juan to translate for Miguel. Then we all held hands and asked God to help them find jobs.

After that I didn’t see Juan and Miguel for a while. I figured they might have had to go out of town to find work. Then one day they were back. “We want to thank you,” Juan said. Miguel smiled and spoke in Spanish as his friend translated for him: “Miguel says, ‘Prayer really works. We both have jobs!’”

“Let’s give thanks,” I urged. I bowed my head and said a short prayer of thanksgiving aloud. After saying “Amen,” I opened my eyes to find my friends staring at me. Miguel spoke in an urgent tone, then Juan explained for me. “My friend says, and I say it too. That was a beautiful prayer. Thank you. Your Spanish is … flawless.”

Flawless? I don’t see how. For I had said that prayer in English, the only language I know.

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