I have pictures posted up now, so if you want to view them they are on my links section on the right, and for your convenience I named the link ¨Pictures¨.
There were many hard things about training. It actually was the theme of my life during this time, but the most difficult part for me was the language. For this I thought I would dedicate a portion to describe the road that I traveled in this area.
Spanish was so important because none of the Latins going through the training spoke English and the training was totally in Spanish. As mentioned before, every English word was five push ups, and for the Indigenous it was the same for their language. I basically had to live the language because it was the only way to function. All the classes were in Spanish. From asking for a bowl of rice to explaining my favorite part of the Bible I had to learn how to express myself. I really had no classes and no formal training of any kind, but they really just threw me into the situation and learned by survival.
So many times I felt like a child and was even viewed as being less intelligent at times because I could not articulate what I wanted to say in their language. At one point we had to read Genesis in Spanish and after seeing what chapter everyone was on most of them were done and I was one of the last. One of the guys made fun of me for being so slow, and I threw my Bible in English at him and told him to read one sentence from Genesis in English and he could not. It took some of them awhile to understand the struggle because they never had to learn a foreign language. But for most of them they were so patient with me and were the greatest teachers and still are.
Even at the beginning I felt like I hit a wall with the language and ever so slowly pushed it forward the whole time. The vicious cycle of it all is that the more I learned the more the native speakers would use more complicated sentences because they assumed I understood more. It was as if I felt that I was never moving. At one point my boss, J told me that I was really struggling in the language. Then he told me that my dictionary was my new novia (girlfriend), named Dixie (after ¨dictionary…still not laughing). I had to have it on me at all times, sleep with it, run with it, do everything with it and if I was caught without it I had to do twenty-five push ups. Then if I said ¨no entiendo¨ (I don´t understand) then I would have to do twenty-five push ups. Another addition to these requirements was that if I could not speak Spanish at the end of training no one would graduate, which gave my Latin brothers the responsibility of teaching me.
The entire journey was so difficult but led to truly beautiful pastures. Some of the amazing things were when I would remember something my boss had told me but not remembering if he had told me in English or Spanish. Many times I would just sit and listen to hours of Spanish being spoken without knowing what was really being said but only picking up things here and there. As time went, however, things became clearer and I was able to understand more. It was like the rising sun revealing all of creation and everything slowly appears with more clarity. So it was with the conversations that I was listening to.
I have grown to appreciate many languages because we would sing songs in Chayahuita, Aguaruna, Spanish, and English. It seemed like a foreshadow of the beauty we will be able to experience in Heaven. Learning the story of the Tower of Babel in Spanish I found ironic and even cursed those people blaming them for my problems. But even though it was a punishment by God, in His goodness, by turning one language into many He made it possible for Him to be praised in so many different ways all beautiful.
I am blessed to say that I am functional in Spanish. In all we learned over thirty stories in Spanish. I probably memorized more of the Bible in Spanish than English. Both of my partners working with me in Bolivia are Latin, and one of them is Quechua, and so all our communication is in Spanish. And now I am learning Quechua through the medium of Spanish. I would never have imagined. Please pray that I can learn this language fast and efficiently and thank you for all your prayers for Spanish because I knew the LORD heard them.