Two down…

…only two more modules to go! Our time is flying by! We are getting more and more anxious to put all this material into practice. Hopefully, God will supply the rest of our support and we will be on the field soon so we don’t forget this stuff before go! 🙂

Tomorrow ends our Second Language Acquisition course. Tonight, we’re having a cookout with everyone here (in fact, I really should be there right now – so this is going to be short!). We’re awfully sad since tomorrow we’ll be saying goodbye to four more friends who aren’t staying for the other modules. It’s hard to say goodbye! We’ve definitely learned that missionaries rarely get to stay around their friends for long. It’s been wonderful being here and relating to people in similar circumstances; but it’s hard to see them go because we’re not sure when/if we’ll see them again. One is leaving for Romania very soon; a couple others are going to North Africa as soon as they finish getting their support; another is heading to Namibia within April. It’s not like there’s a meeting place in between these countries where we can all go for coffee once a week! However, there is the hope of that old, kind of funny saying… “See ya here, there, or in the air!” God has blessed us with wonderful friends…and with living during the internet era so we’ll always be in touch, no matter where we go.

Tomorrow, we are leaving for South Carolina for the weekend! Some of you my know my good friend Tim Smith. He is a guy I graduated high school with and he and his wife live in the Greenville, South Carolina, area, so we are spending the weekend with them! We’re very excited; it’ll be nice to get away and get refreshed before plowing into our next course.

We’ll be back at CIT Sunday afternoon. Our “Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills” course actually begins Sunday evening. I should add a disclaimer… we THINK we’re going through SYIS this week, but there’s a chance we could be wrong. It might be “Teams and Team Leaders.” For some reason, we’re all very confused about this! So, I’ll let you know what our next module is! 🙂

Thank you for your prayers. We shall keep you posted! We’ll have new pictures up next week. Have a wonderful weekend!


Language Week #2

We have entered our second and last week of “how to learn a language.” We met this evening with the phonetics pro to help us with sounds Spanish makes that English does not. Thankfully, Spanish is pretty straight-forward and the only sound I, personally, have trouble with is the “trilled ‘r'”…which he couldn’t help me with! Apparently, that’s something that either comes naturally or does not and I just have to practice; there’s no set rule for where to put your tongue and how to blow your air, like every other sound in the world. Frustrating!

The rest of this week will be continuing practice with our language helper (it’s amazing how much Russian I’ve picked up and how much Cebuano Brian has picked up in only a couple sessions!), figuring out how to make our sessions with language helpers more complex, and getting a game plan for when we get to the field and begin learning our language.

We had a wonderful Easter yesterday. We got up at six and went to a community sunrise service at seven with three other people CIT friends. There were about five churches represented, but only about 50 people showed up. Right before they began, the host pastor asked if there were any musicians in the house – anybody willing to play piano. I realized 10 minutes later that I had raised my hand and was seated at the piano staring at music I had never heard before! “Good thinking, Lisa,” just kept playing over and over in my head. I had thought the first song was the “…up from the grave He arose…” that we Baptists normally sing at Easter. I was horribly wrong. The pastor came over and sang it for me before we began and then I somehow had to muddle my way through it. It was actually really fun! The hymn book wouldn’t stay open, so another lady held it for me. I had to play like a little prelude (from a hymn book that had a surprising few songs that I knew) and then two songs, plus something for an altar call…spur of the moment. And yet, I was never nervous! It was actually really fun and I was glad to use my gift.

After that service, we had breakfast downstairs (with liver mush and biscuit sandwiches! Brian got brave and tried one…I skipped) and then took the other CIT students home. We went to our service at 9:30 and…somehow…it was over shortly after 10. They apparently take “short and to the point” quite seriously down here!

We had decided Saturday night to cook a meal together with the two single guys that are here. Sunday morning, that number of “four or five of us” grew to “everybody that’s here for the weekend that we can get ahold of.” Brian went to the grocery store with the two single guys and they bought whatever I had written down on a hasty list…and then I cooked. Brian made a ham and some rolls, I made the rest with the help of one of the other single girls. It was so fun! We had a nice community Easter lunch and it really felt like a nice holiday. Complete with a nap afterwards. 🙂

Now that I’ve bored you all with details from our weekend…feel free to “bore” us! We’d love to hear from you all. Even if we don’t get back to you personally (Geni 🙂 ), know that we read everything and are so encouraged by your comments, feedback, and prayers. In case you did not know, you can comment on these blogs without needing to create an account, as far as I know. Otherwise, just drop us an email. It’d be WONDERFUL to know who all is reading this!

Language Helpers

Today, we got to work with people who speak another language as their first language. The lady working with my team is from Russia, but has been in the States for eight years. She speaks English very well – thankfully! We were with our “LH”s (Language Helpers) for an hour and a half and we all had a plan to follow and specific tasks to do. It was an awesome experience. Monday was really hard because our LH was someone on CIT staff and as wonderful as our guy was, he hasn’t actually used Russian in a few years, so he was constantly looking words up and wasn’t really sure what they would say sometimes. So, our lady today was extremely helpful! It’s very interactive, but we pick and choose what we want to learn. Basically, we tailor-make our own classtime. It’s an awesome, awesome way to learn a language!

What’s really nice is that Brian really feels like learning Spanish is now attainable. He knew he would learn it eventually, but with these techniques, he’s much more excited about starting and feels much more confident about learning. Which is such an answer to prayer! We had a great conversation with one of the instructors who lived in Portugal for nine years and he had some awesome advice for both of us and was just very encouraging about the process. It is possible to be almost fluent (to a certain degree) in two years – our first term – if we work at it. Praise God! We feel for our friends who are going to have to learn Arabic; it could take them up to two years just to feel like they are at a child level of communicating. But, at least they’re highly motivated and beginning already!

Today was another very tiring day of working with the phonetics instructor and just reshaping our whole idea of learning a foreign language. We’re awfully tired tonight, but so grateful to be here.

SECOND Language Acquisition

Day #2 in Language Acquisition and we’re already so exhausted! We now realize in full why they told us not to even attempt support raising while we’re here and just focus on studies. It’s not that we have lots of homework, tests, or even assignments in general. It’s just that there is so much information given in so short a time period with hardly any time in between to process. The information is amazingly wonderful and useful, but it’s so different from our normal way of thinking that our minds are just screaming at us to “LEAVE ME ALONE! Let me go to bed!!” Which is very shortly coming up on my to-do list this evening. 🙂

Many people have been thinking that this language course is teaching us Spanish – that’s it’s actually language school. That is not the case! This is a course teaching us how to learn Spanish (or Arabic or Russian or whatever other language people here need to learn). It’s actually geared toward people who will not be attending language school, so the instructors have asked Brian and I to evaluate the class when it’s over next week – meeting with the instructors to talk about how helpful we think it was. There are very few missionaries who go overseas without formal training somewhere in the agenda for their target language, so apparently we’re just continuing our theme of breaking missionary rules!

Our days now consist of learning all 25 of the principles and activities they’re going to give us to learn a language; learning phonetics – training our ears and mouths to recognize new sounds and reproduce them; developing our own personal action plan for learning a new language; and working with actual “Language Helpers” who have been brought in from the community here to help us. Tomorrow is our first day with an “LH” from the community; Monday we worked with someone on staff. My team is working with a lady from Russia – should be fun! We have different techniques we will be using with her and I actually just got back from a planning meeting with my team to figure out our schedule for tomorrow. And in case you were wondering, Brian and I were not allowed to be in the same group; Brian will be working with a lady who speaks Cebuana (from the Far East).

One of the things we’re most excited about is actually sitting down and working with the phonetics professional here one on one. He’s going to meet with everyone individually next week and help us figure out how to make sounds that are unique to the language we will be working in. He is a Wycliffe missionary and the man has an impeccable ear! He may not be able to speak more than 3 languages, but he can hear sounds in every language that most of us did not even know were happening. So, that will be incredibly helpful! We will also be working with the staff to help us with our game plan for learning Spanish when we get to Peru, and even what (little) we can do now.

Basically, this course has already altered my view on learning another language. I’m no longer a big fan of language schools; I’d much rather follow this method and learn as a child learns their first language – which is basically lots and lots of listening and mimicry, even though you sound atrocious!

We got another version of 1 Corinthians 13, for the language learner. I just really liked this one, too, so I thought I’d end tonight with this version. Thank you for your prayers! We’ll keep you posted…

“If I have the language ever so perfectly and speak like a local, and have not the love that grips the heart, I am – nothing. If I have decorations and diplomas and am proficient in up-to-date methods and have not the touch of understanding love, I am nothing. If I am able to worst my opponents in an argument so as to make fools of them, and have not the wooing note, I am nothing. If I have all faith and great ideals and magnificent plans and wonderful visions, and have not the love that sweats and bleeds and weeps and prays and pleads, I am nothing. If I can heal all manner of sickness and disease, but wound hearts and hurt feelings for want of love that is kind, I am nothing. If I write books and publish articles that set the world agape and fail to transcribe the word of the cross in the language of love, I am nothing. Worse, I may be competent, busy, fussy, punctilious, and well-equipped, but like the church of Laodicea – nauseating to Christ. If I surrender all prospects, and leaving home and friends and comforts, give myself to the showy sacrifice of a missionary career, and turn sour and selfish amid the daily annoyances and personal slights of a missionary life, and though I give my body to be consumed in the heat and sweat and mildew of India [Lima, Peru], and have not the love that yields its rights, its coveted leisure, its pet plans, I am nothing, nothing. Virtue has ceased to go out of me.”