Monday, August 30, 2010

FriendSpeak Experience #1

Well, yesterday was the day that I "jumped off the cliff" and started participating in the FriendSpeak ministry. It ended up vastly different than I imagined. First of all, I was expecting to be matched with a college age student. I was also expecting to be placed with someone who knew English and is simply wanting to strengthen their skills and pronunciation--because that's the majority of who comes. Instead, I was placed with a terrified 7th grade girl who is simply here for 6 months (beginning in June) because her mom wants her to learn English-and she knows none. Whew! I immediately abandoned the FriendSpeak material that uses the Gospel of Luke, and tracked down some books from the preschool library at the church. Through our time together and conversations with her cousin, I was able to learn that she can read English fairly well; but she is only pronouncing it. She doesn't know what any of the words mean, and she doesn't know any conversational English. My job? To teach her conversational English in the next 4 months before she returns to China. I have absolutely no idea how to do this. But, my heart is so burdened for this young girl. She is terrified. She just sat through the first week of 7th grade probably without a clue as to what is going on around her. My guess is she's a sweet girl that has many thoughts and ideas to share but she's trapped in an environment where she cannot share them. I know this is a proven method of second language acquisition, but I am at a loss as to how to help! I'm praying fervently that God will open a way for us to learn to communicate with each other. I'm going to do some research on how to teach beginning conversational skills. We can read books all day long where she can use the pictures to tell the meaning, but that won't do her any service to make any friends at school in the next 4 months.

Needless to say, this is going to be an adventure. Whatever comes out of it, I pray simply that God will let me be an encouragement and blessing to this young girl.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Because it Scares Me

Now that the moving craziness is over, and the last two weeks we have found a fabulous new routine to our new life's chapter-the Lord is beginning to press many things upon my heart. Actually, I'm beginning to wonder if He's always been pressing these things on my heart, but I've just been too busy to pay attention. I'm not going to go into all of them today. Some of them are still so deeply personal that God and I just need to commune about them right now on our own. But, I do want to share one of them.

We received a church email last week regarding the FriendSpeak ministry that some in our congregation participate in. If you are not familiar with FriendSpeak, here's a quick synopsis: This is a ministry designed to teach individuals how to speak English using the Gospel of Luke. Most, if not all, of the individuals involved in this come from a country of Oriental origin. Most of the individuals our congregation works with are students at University of Texas at Arlington. I have always found this ministry fascinating. The goal is not to convert these sweet people, but simply to build a relationship by teaching English using the Bible. However, the "side effect" is often lengthy conversations about Jesus Christ, and many of these individuals begin exploring their own personal relationship with Him. So, back to this past week:

We received an email asking for more volunteers because UTA starts back in session this week, and it's time to be ready for these hungering students. Immediately, I realized I have the time for this now (which I always used lack of time as my excuse while I was teaching). I first thought, "I could do this." Almost immediately another thought crossed my mind, "Well, maybe I should wait and volunteer next semester instead. That way I can see how things are going to look with the college ministry. We are still so up in the air about how busy we will be with those students, and I don't want to over commit myself." I felt good about this thought process. Over committing yourself is not a great God-quality. Cause then your yes can't stay your yes...etc, etc. And, I don't want to wear myself out cause then I can't give 100% to the things I am involved in. So, I decided to go with this thought process, but run it by Taylor as well just for his confirmation. Here's how that conversation went:

Me: I was thinking about doing FriendSpeak.
Taylor: Me too.
Me: I think I'm going to wait until the Spring though.
Taylor: Why?
Me: Well, we don't know what the college ministry is going to look like, and I don't want to over commit myself and not be able to help you out.
Taylor: It's only an hour a week. We just won't schedule any college activities during that time.
Me: oh, okay. (left to my swirling thoughts)

So, just like God designed things in marriage to sometimes be - my husband, unknowingly, set me straight. My real reasons were not fear of over-commitment. There really is plenty of time in my life right now. It's true I want to use it wisely and give my best to everything unlike what I was able to do while teaching, but that was a dumb excuse in this area. Basically, I'm scared. Not of teaching someone to read in English. If you know me at all, you know I'm qualified for that! I'm terrified about what kinds of questions regarding my faith that I might be asked. I don't like doing things I'm not 100% prepared for...with 100% the "right"/"best" answers ready. Well, that's not what God calls me too. Cause He is the Answer, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Therefore, I'm going to go build a relationship with a Taiwanese student that has a need that I can meet. I can meet the need this student will have to strengthen their English reading/speaking skills. This is his/her cup of cold water that I can give! God will take care of the rest of it if I just continue to be obedient to Him! Throughout the Bible He simply encourages us to build relationships! Through that relationship, He makes the sharing of the Gospel happen! So, pray with/for me on this journey. Taylor will be doing this as well. We begin this coming Sunday at 4:00 in the afternoon! I'm very excited, but yes, a little scared. But, once again, in the quietness of this new chapter of my life, I firmly believe God is calling me to this!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Always, Sometimes, Never

I saw this type of post on my friend Amy's blog the other day. Thought I would join in on the fun!

I Always...
...drink a cup of hot tea in the morning.
...put Carmex on before turning out the light and before getting back in bed after a middle of the night potty run.
...buckle my seatbelt.
...start a new book when I finish one cause I have to be "in the middle" of a book at all times. a picky eater. chocolate. breakfast.
...pull the shower curtain closed after a shower so the liner doesn't mildew.
...take a bath/shower before bed and again in the morning.

I Sometimes... Wii with my husband.
...listen to a CD or the radio in my car. to eat Mexican food, but not very often!
...enjoy going golfing with my husband so I can drive the cart.
...wish I could be a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or speech pathologist in another lifetime.
...have a good sense of direction.
...choose not to make the bed.

I Never... to sweat. flying! rap or heavy metal music.
...get tired of shoe shopping...okay, clothes shopping, in general.
...get tired of hearing my husband tell me he loves me. to have my feet tickled.
...regret buying my sweet dog, Rori. Chinese food.

I'm sure there are more, but that's all my brain is thinking about for now! :) What about you?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


So, I'm WAY behind in blog world. If you are a Facebook friend then you know the moving drama we have experienced and therefore understand the said blog behindness. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you will just have to wait a little longer. :) I am almost completely settled and will then get back to blogging about all the crazy and wonderful things happening in our life! :)