I had grand illusions (disillusions really) of becoming fluent in Spanish after just a bit. I was going to be immersed in the culture you know, so that instantly blesses me with linguistic talent right????????????
When we moved to Mexico originally, I knew how to say 'Buenos Dias' and 'taco'. ' Burrito'...'nachos''.....um.....'Buenos noches' was in there, I think.
So what did I get to do? I listened. A LOT. To people, to neighbors, to the kids at the children's home, and to my own child (Riley) who seemed to be able to figure out speaking in Spanish without studying, the little stinker.
All that listening. In another language. That in itself is exhausting. I do THINK to this day I was understanding quite a bit after that first year but only by God's grace. Speaking it was something else. I was all backwards grammatically so that session in language school was.....frustrating. I could understand what people were saying but switching it around in my head was enough to drive me to tears on more than one occasion.
THANK THE LORD for patient, gracious people in my life during those first few years. :)
One thing that sticks out in my memory is our church. We miss our church. In Madera we wound up getting connected through an American team that had come to town to work with them and by chance (HA!) wound up checking out the children's home at the same time Alan was there working on something. He helped them with some questions and information and they invited us to come and visit them. The connections grew.
and they gave us their leftover Starbucks coffee when they left!! :)
Anyway....we met the pastor that their church was working with and found a church HOME. Juan Carlos and Yanira are family to us. We love them and miss them more than I thought possible. Even with language challenges we were able to have amazing fellowship!
An interesting thing began to happen as we would sit in church each Sunday and listen. First of all, Juan Carlos has amazing diction. I never quite made the connection why I could understand and make out the words he was using but found myself flabbergasted at grocery stores when I couldn't grasp what that veggie lady was asking me about! 'What in the world??? I was just in church and understood 90% of what was said! What is wrong with me??'
One day it dawned on me...
You see - in church, added to Juan Carlos' amazing dictation and manner of speech was that I knew contextually what he was talking about. Years of bible study and church services had given me a working knowledge of scripture (NOT implying I have it all figured out by any means...). The Holy Spirit was able to talk to me even through Spanish - and it added a layer to my soul.
A world of difference. Literally.
I have gained a world of understanding in trying to hear, learn, read, write, talk, and communicate in a language I DO NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND nor will ever fully understand. I've laid that dream down as I realize the more I learn, the more I have to learn. :) I also come to this with a 12 year, stateside, very good education. You may not ever experience this but take it from me - it's HARD. Harder than anything I have ever done.
Hearing and speaking English with other native English speakers sometimes makes me gasp for breath. Not only because of the fact that I have words spilling out of my mouth at the speed of light just because I can, but because I can communicate ME. And can understand THEM.
Now - with that contextual background and mental picture in mind, I ask you, what three things will last forever?
Anyway you cut it, that is what will last eternally.
I have never quite been able to understand or grasp the privilege of having a bible in ENGLISH. It's just always been there. In my heart language - the language where I think, feel, dream, wonder, process, talk, communicate, am.
As I talked about here, Jesus' words and ultimately the entire bible, is to us a direct line for 'how we shall live, move, and have our being' in this world so that we are prepared for what is to come. God's word is Him talking to us. Teaching us, loving us, reassuring us, encouraging us, leading us.
***Or were trying to understand it fully in another language with very little context.
***Where would your hope come from?
There are several ministries devoted to getting God's word into heart languages for the unreached. I'm going to direct you to a few.
The first is a family in Oaxaca that we came to know through our fabulous homeschooling curriculum but more than that, God has orchestrated a friendship, prayer partnership, and family for us with them. One of those gifts I received through technology that I won't discount. :) I asked her first for the links so I do this with permission.
Their ministry involves getting portions of scripture translated into native languages in that region that has an incredible quantity of unreached people. Translated with the help of native speakers, then the scripture is put onto AUDIO players that are solar battery powered so they can push the button and LISTEN to God's word in their heart language. No need to learn an alphabet, no need to learn to read, or study for hours to gain a working knowledge of the language, because frankly, some of these people groups don't have that much time. They are dying out. Without hearing.
Incredible. And exciting. And crucial.
I would encourage you to click on their links and explore the amazing ways God is reaching the 'nations'.