International Ministries

Language Learning

September 30, 2001 Journal

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers this month! We needed them! What's been up with us?...

We've begun our formal language classes. Our class is made up of students from China, Mongolia, Korea and Taiwan. We're enjoying it, but the pace is fast--most of the students studying with us are trying to get into Japanese universities at the end of the one and a half year of language studies, and most of our classmates have studied some Japanese before. So we have been reminded again of what it's like to feel humbled and helpless like children. It really hit me hard a couple of weeks ago when one of the five-year-olds at Adam's hoikuen (preschool) came up to me in the morning and started asking a simple, 4-word question over and over again, waiting for me to answer her. I just looked down and bumbled out, "gomenasai, nihongo ga mada wakarimasen" (I'm sorry, I don't speak Japanese yet"). And she just looked up at my 6-foot body with total confusion! "How can that big guy not understand me?" she must have been thinking.

Pray for us this month in these areas:
1. We're making friends at language school--pray that we'll be able to keep building relationships of trust (especially with all that's going on politically), so that we can share our faith among our classmates and teachers.
2. Pray for wisdom as we try to determine what to do about Adam & Sarah's schooling--much of their future experience will be guided by decisions that need to be made this month.
3. Pray for us to really learn Japanese well. We're anxious to start making good Japanese friends!
4. I met with a group of area Baptist pastors for the first time this month during one of their association meetings, and was REALLY warmly welcomed. Praise the Lord! It's so nice to feel at home among people so far away from your country. Pray that we'll find a great way to balance church and school ministry in the future.
5. Pray for a great response to the World Mission Offering this month among our churches. This year's stock market deflation has really cut into the income International Ministries receives from "the faithful who have gone before." Encourage folks in your curch to give generously this month to share the gospel among the nations!