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.


Jennifer said...

How are your stick-figure drawing skills? :) Bless that girl's heart! How wonderful that she has a teacher in you who cares and prays for her!