We started Wolof studies over 3 years ago. When we started out we had just begun ministry so we were able to go at our language study with full force.
Pretty quickly ministry responsibilities started in full swing cutting down our time in Wolof significantly. We dropped down to pursuing Wolof 3 mornings a week so that the rest of the time could be dedicated to other ministries.
Then the travels began and we started to miss weeks and sometimes months at a time. Travels often would hit us in seasons where we would be gone for large chunks of time over consecutive months. Each time we had a big season of travel we were forced to stop sessions and when we would get back that last thing we wanted to do was get back started in language study.
As time wore on we started to feel the exhaustion of it more and more. Then we started to question ourselves, maybe we have enough? Is it really realistic to press on? However usually soon after these questions arose we would be in a situation where Wolof was exclusively being spoken and we would get reignited to press on. It was an up and down battle that we were constantly fighting.
Finally I had to make a shift in my thinking – shifting Wolof from being a short term goal to a long term goal.
There was no way with our work load to just pound it out and be done. It would be slow drip and I needed to be okay with that. I needed to see each drip as adding to the bucket and knowing that eventually given enough time the bucket would still fill. Once I made that shift in my thinking the frustration of it lessened and the desire to quit left as was no longer disappointed with our progress.
So….slowly but surely we are plugging away at Wolof. What we did with French in 2 years will be more of a 5 year journey for us in Wolof, but it will still be worth it. We try to acknowledge for ourselves the progress along the way to keep us encouraged. We try to be faithful to listen and study even when away from home on travels. We try to keep forcing ourselves to use it even when French is a lot more convenient to use.
We understand a lot now, which is a huge step in the right direction. BUT…. speaking is so still hard and humiliating. So pray for us as we press on. Pray that we would be faithful to the task. Pray that we would continue to progress even with our less than ideal circumstances. Pray for people who would be patient enough to stick it out with us as we try to communicate. Even the little Wolof we have has been a huge help to us in our relationships, so we know it is worth it and we just need to keep persevering.