Have Amy or I ever mentioned that learning a foreign language and culture is hard? Our primary job these days is just that: Culture and Language Acquisition, or CLA for short. It’s a long-term project aimed at preparing us to clearly communicate the Gospel into another language and worldview… with as close to native proficiency as an outsider can achieve.
We’re almost a year in to CLA here in Chihuahua, and when done we’ll move out to the mountains to start again in a harder context. Now don’t get me wrong – though hard, the relationship-based study we do is often fun! But faithful perseverance is a challenge when progress often comes too slowly to perceive. This is why – for us – hitting major milestones is such a cause for celebration!
Well, in the month of July we hit one such milestone. For the first time, I had the privilege of teaching from God’s Word in another language! Granted, it was not like preaching on Sunday morning – I shared from Romans 12:1-2 for fifteen minutes at a small Bible study. This was a controlled context with already-maturing believers, critical because I am still far from ready to teach those without a Biblical worldview! Nonetheless, it was a real opportunity to help my brothers and sisters in Christ see some of the things God has been teaching me from His Word. What an amazing opportunity!
I’m sure your next question will be, “how did it go?” In one word, it was encouraging. As expected, teaching exposed several new holes in my ability to communicate cross-culturally. This has helped me identify several goals to pursue daily in CLA – areas of study critical to master in Spanish before moving on to work in the mountains. Furthermore, given my current level of proficiency I was surprised to receive so much positive feedback from the first session! Subsequent conversation on how God works out His will through us was both challenging and edifying, and I loved that I could see God’s Word communicated despite my limitations.
That one Bible study won’t be the end, of course – I will be continuing in the same role roughly twice a month from here on out, continuing to invest in our church body while also growing as a cross-cultural teacher. My hope is that – when I’m ready – this will transition into an opportunity to teach chronologically through the Bible from Genesis to Christ, much as we will do in the mountains some day soon. Yet for today, the privilege of teaching God’s Word in another language at all is incredible enough to make me so grateful!
Ways to pray:
- For God to continue working through future teaching opportunities in this Bible study – first in all our hearts as we hear His Word, and then in me as a language-learning teacher!
- That God would keep us resting in Him through several difficult circumstances in our lives right now – health issues for Amy and Titus, multiple water-related problems for which we’re struggling to find repairmen, an irreparably broken iPhone, and a flat tire which too was damaged beyond saving.
- Our friend Marisol has a new grandson named Iker who has been sick. They have taken him to doctors previously, and yesterday (July 27th) Amy helped take him to the hospital because he was vomiting. He stayed overnight after initial observation and is currently about to undergo surgery. Please pray for Iker’s health and the doctors operating on him now!
Thank God with us:
- In July, we saw most of my side of family for the first time in a year – introducing Joel to all but my mom for the first time! What a blessing our reunion was… and though parting was hard, we look forward to visits anticipated later this year from members of both sides of our family.
- Soon, Amy will take her first language evaluation. This will give us another encouraging milestone in CLA, and perhaps begin to shed light on appropriate timing for joining a church planting team.
- We are working to develop another service opportunity here in Chihuahua at a local orphanage, one with which our home church in Spokane has had a good relationship in years past. We are excited both to continue that relationship, and to serve the kids we get to know during our regular time there!