Slashing grass. Shoveling sand out of ditches. Gathering plastic bottles. laying block. Mixing cement. herding goats. Preparing food. Selling oranges. Driving busses. Collecting change. making coffee. Tailoring clothes. Pumping gas. changing tires. Tilling the garden. watering plants. Learning to talk. Guess where we fit in? Yes, we are the ones who are learning how to talk. We put a smile on someone's face every day. First, they smile when they hear us talk to them in their own language. Second, they smile as we proceed to stretch the language to the brink of recognition. For this last reason, we really can't take ourselves to seriously at this point. We have about as much to contribute to the conversation around us as a sleepy kindergartner.
Since we've arrived here, there have been a few instances where I've found myself drifting off, dreaming of standing on a roof and cracking a joke while holding a hammer and ripping off shingles, all the while being covered in dirt and sweat. Then I've woken up, realizing I really was covered in dirt and sweat because I never got around to taking a cold shower. Since being here, I have stumbled upon another realization about myself, while I've never been one to say a whole lot, I really miss being able to talk. As fun as it to be able to say things like "please repeat what you just said yet again" and "I like three tomatoes", it would be funner to be able to say things like "yes, the plan is quite complex, however, I think its quite feasible if we just eliminate options b and c and replace them with what we put in the appendix... "
Even if we were able to talk fluently at this point, however, we would probably still sound foreign. that's because we still don't understand so many things about the culture here. things are done a little differently here. not only do people talk different, they act different and they think different. We just don't know how different yet because we don't have the words.
We are making progress, however. We've had many nights where we've stayed up near midnight listening and studying after attempting to put our son to bed, and we are starting to see results, even if they're a little hazy.
Although we are making progress, It can all be a little overwhelming, and it certainly causes us to miss the place we called home, especially when we think of the fresh green of the wheat fields and the winter snow melt running down the mountain streams. Yet, with all these differences around us, with all the uncertainty we feel each day, and with these thousands of new thoughts and words floating around in our heads, we have in our possession a treasure more valuable then the ability to talk, more valuable then fitting in, more valuable than aesthetic fields and mountains, something which will never change, never run out, and never fail. God's word is more exciting than a ballgame, more relaxing than a movie, and more informing than the news. It knows our hearts better than we do, and we trust it, because it is Him. In his word, he promised to be with us, and he is.
"lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
"Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come."
(Matthew 28:20b and Hebrews 13:13,14 nkjv)