With snow swirling all around me, I made it to church this morning by myself. Avery has had a cold for a week and now Bethany isn’t starting to feel that great. I didn’t want to try and battle the Sunday school thing with Titus today, so we opted to just have the family stay home and I would go to church alone. And even though church is often difficult, today was a much better Sunday for me than last week. I approached church this morning with a completely different focus, one that might seem even a little strange–to learn language.
One of the tools we learned at Missionary Training and one that my friend Landen reminded me of last night was approaching church with a focus on writing down words and engaging the language. Basically, with a notebook in hand, I wrote down every word I could understand and then would add a mark if I heard it again and so on (below is a photo of my notebook). Believe it or not, I heard and wrote down 101 words that I heard at least one time. The most repeated word I heard was “manželský” which I believe means “marital” or “marriage.” I heard at least a form of that word 28 times. Maybe the sermon was about marriage?
You might be wondering why this could be helpful. I think the main reason is that it makes me more engaged in trying to listen to Czech and distinguish sounds, words, and phrases. Do I know how to spell all the words? No. Do I even know if what I heard was correct? No. But the process of trying to listen and write them down is putting my mind in a language mode and not a “tune out because I don’t know how to speak Czech” mode which is often the case. Another reason it’s helpful is it gets new words into my vocabulary by forcing me to learn the meanings. If I hear a word and hear it correctly, then I go back and learn the meaning. It’s actually a pretty incredible experience for a language student and I’m truly thankful for it. As much as I would like to listen to the sermon, my time is actually better spent just trying to understand the actual words being spoken. Long term, this is an infinitely better use of my time for now.
It snowed on and off all day and the wind was up. At one point, there was snow falling and I could see the sun shining. I tried to get a photo of it, but it just didn’t turn out (show above). During the afternoon we basically tried to clean the house up and our friend Misa came over at about 3pm. She is leaving tomorrow to be in Prague for a bit and then off to the States in a few more weeks. We had a good time chatting with her and actually helping her understand English and American culture better. During that time I was working on sizing and cutting a print to fit a frame, both of which I brought from the States when we moved. I took a little time to get it all measured and cut it, but I’m happy with the final result. I plan on hanging it up in my office at Josiah Venture. Below is a picture of it and it’ll be a constant reminder to my soul of why we’re here–to see more come to know the Light of Life.
The last week has brought excitement, clarity, and focus for me. I’m excited about what God is doing to help realign my heart and invigorate me to learn a tough language and continue to strive to see more people come to Christ in this place. I’m thankful for how God is using our circumstances to make us more like His Son! It’s not always easy or fun, but I can rest in the fact that he is working in all of it for my good and His glory.
One response to “A Better Sunday”
Shay, I love the Czech words you got today in church. I love seeing you get excited for engaging Czech. Learning Czech is a long journey but it is a good one and God is going to do some major work on our hearts and character through this process of learning Czech. Looking forward to starting some language accountability with you. Pet a Pet my friend.