My first training was all about cultural adaptation. The best description I have heard is, “they reach in, pull out your heart, and make you stare at it!” As funny as that sounds, it’s basically what they did for 3 weeks. We covered a broad range of topics that forced us to think beyond our comfort zone. We were forced to think through the hard questions. We had to choose vulnerability. We had to choose to trust the Lord to meet us in those deep places. The greatest thing is...He ALWAYS meets us in those deep places. So often we think “don’t go there, Lord. That’s an ugly spot!” But the beautiful thing is that the deepest place he digs is always the first place to receive the abundant grace and love and mercy He’s anxious to pour out on us. So as we discussed the topics of conflict management, stress, grief & loss, singles/marrieds, sabbath & silence, moral purity, healthy resilient families, transitions, and goodbyes, I felt the Lord saying, “Do you trust me with that?...and what about that?...and what about that?” There is still a LOT to process through and I’m fairly confident I’ll never get through all of it, but I got a good start with some amazing friends, instructors and coaches standing alongside of me. What a blessing to know He’s not finished with me yet!!
My second training is just coming to a close and is all about language acquisition. Did you know we don’t say a true K, T or P in the US? Make a K sound. Seriously...do it. Did you say “k” or “k-uh”? Did you know those are two different phonetic sounds? Yeah...I didn’t! I have spent the last two weeks training my mouth and ear to get outside of the 44-sounds we have in English. I haven’t counted, but I’m pretty sure we’ve practiced at least 20 additional sounds since I’ve been here. (Note: I don’t necessarily hear or say those sounds correctly yet, but it’s a start.) Once or twice a day, we sit in drill groups and practice various chunks of sounds. I’m hoping to get some video of it tomorrow to share with you. It’s pretty entertaining!
We also spent large amounts of time in language groups. We were immersed in an unknown language for the purpose of practicing various language learning methods. I was put in the Russian group. I will admit...I was pretty skeptical about what I could possibly learn in three 3-hour sessions...especially when I didn’t really have a motivation to retain anything beyond those three sessions. Let me just say I’m amazed!! We did many different activities in a group and would come back the next day and REMEMBER what we had done the previous day. I’m sure it’ll fade without use, but it made me so excited to go to my country and use those same language learning techniques! There may be hope after all!