Monthly Archives: February 2011

To Be Trilingual

Imaynallataq kachkani?  If you haven’t figured it out yet… I LOVE LANGUAGES!  Have you ever taken a personality test?  And, I don’t mean “Which Twilight Character Are You?” on facebook.  Have you ever taken the DISC personality test, or something similar, that actually tells you a little bit about yourself?  I took one recently, and I found out that I really am crazy!  Maybe not so, but if you’ve ever taken a personality test then you know how exilorating it is to read your results.  It’s eye-opening… you feel like your going to fall out of your seat because, well… how did they know that?!  And then you learn a ton of stuff about yourself that you thought about but could never put into words.

A couple of weeks ago I took a test from Clifton’s Strength Finders test and what I found out about myself makes complete sense as to why I love languages and how I can take them on more easily than others.  Ideation was my first strength.  I wasn’t surprised because one of my recent roommates brought it to my attention how much of an idealist I am after I told them about my dream house… it was rather outside the realm of realistic.  But, why I love languages was explained even more with Input, I like to collect information.  It was neat how the bunch of my five top strengths complemented each other.

Well, now I’m studying Quechua (the greeting above is “how are you” in Quechua).  It is an ancient language that was spoken by the Incas.  Isn’t that cool?  There are a ton of things that are influenced by the Quechua language, just as Spanish has given words to Quechua and even how English has contributed to Spanish!  Words like computadora and internet aren’t just coincidences.  Children daycares are called wawa wasi, which after reading up on Quechua grammar and vocabulary I found means “children’s house.”  And then, I found out that Lake Titicaca means titi – grey caca – rock.  Grey Rock!  Neat-o!

We met a woman this past week who we tried talking with and she knew very little Spanish, but spoke Quechua.  We had a hard time communicating with her and I really wanted to talk to her about God, but she couldn’t understand.  This isn’t the first woman who we have run into who doesn’t understand Castellano, as Latin America calls Spanish.  So, I figured I would try to learn the language.

At first I thought it was going to be an ugly language.  But, then after reading a bit of it and hearing how it sounds, I think it’s rather pretty.

She gets a bit shrill, but I still think it’s pretty neat!

Joel and I had another issue this past Sunday.  We had a problem of communication and we got separated in our district.  I was frustrated and he was just plain oblivious to what was going on.  I went and talked to Chad and Amanda and just told them how I was feeling.  They had a meeting with Joel to see what he was thinking and the frustrations I was sharing with them were the same that he was sharing.  It was pretty amazing to me that Satan was working to keep us from communicating and being upset with each other when there was really nothing to be upset about between ourselves if only we had talked to one another.

Something that I really want to work on with Joel is what we tell people.  James continues to be a huge teacher to me and in his letter he talks about how teachers will be judged at higher standards than others.  We are teachers/leaders and the words that leave our mouths really do carry more weight than others’.  Last week we were talking to a random lady and when she said she was Catholic Joel told her we were too!  Afterward, I asked him why he told her that, and he said… “Well, we are.”  I explained to him that we are being deceitful if we do stuff like that.  Pulling lines like that will ruin our reputation.  He said he didn’t think it was deceptive, because he was thinking about Paul’s reference to us being Catholic.  I told him that if he says one thing with the intentions of another understanding another that’s deception.  It’s just things like that.  It happened again today when he was talking to someone about English classes and when they started doubting he made a promise that involved me without talking to me… I told him afterward he probably shouldn’t have said that.

Anyway!  We met with this girl Lucy yesterday.  She is the daughter of the owner of a shop that we frequent.  The first time we went into that store we met with her and talked about Christ and she seemed rather interested.  This past week we agreed to meet with her to go over a Bible lesson and then an English lesson.  We got to her store yesterday and she didn’t seem to want to do either, but Joel asked if we could and she agreed.  So, we did our first lesson… “Learning About Sin.”  Through the lesson she was surprised at some of the things that are sins.  It was shocking at times.  I always thought that was a silly lesson, but apparently it is necessary.  She also had a lot of questions.  I was so excited about that.  I was happy that she wasn’t just taking this blindly, but rather analyzing and questioning the things we were saying.  That makes for strong convictions.  I told her at the end that I hate having this “sin” lesson as our first, because a lot of people don’t like being told what they cannot do.  But, I told her that I sincerely do have a very happy life because of my God and once we look beyond this what we can and cannot do we have this awesome relationship with Christ.  I think the Peruvians have the strength that they have no inhibitions with whom they share the Gospel, but us North Americans have seen what over-zealous Christians have done, not only to the church, but to those outside the church looking in and I just wanted Lucy to know the raw, honest truth and love that I know about God.  Please, pray for her.

Here are some things you can keep in your prayers:

  • that Domingo and Vilma will soon come to receive our invitation at the end of our lessons and accept Christ into their hearts
  • pray that Lucy (one of our youngest contacts) sorts through her many questions, and keeps asking them, and is receptive of our lessons
  • Royer, Leonor’s husband, has a change of heart and stops drinking and becomes interested in what Leonor is studying with us
  • that people actually come to our English lesson next week (no one showed up today and it was the first day… bummer)
  • traveling mercies as we are going to Lima next weekend to finish our residency process
  • Joel and my relationship (that’s a given)
  • that I continue to be slow to wrath


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Lesson #48,792,302,938

Are you looking at me?  Oh, sorry.  Can’t you tell I’m busy?  I’ve got my headphones in, but they are silent.  I’m not playing music.  I don’t want to listen to music right now.  I am just happy with sitting on this bed, being alone.  When someone has headphones in, to everyone else around them it’s like they have “DO NOT DISTURB” stamped on their forehead.  I have this stamp on my forehead, right now.

Oh dear.  There are so many things that I’m learning.  Do you remember the Y2K?  And how everyone was freaking out?  It’s kind of funny now that we look back on it.  I mean, two 0’s really sent your Aunt Jeanie running to the grocery store to stock up on creamed corn and canned yams?  I say your Aunt Jeanie, but it was probably you!  Don’t be ashamed, you were fooled along with the other hundreds.  But, I will always remember my sister saying while sitting at the dinner table a statistic she had heard that if we learned something every second for the next thousand years only then would our brains be full.  That’s a lot of stuff!  I’ve never referenced that fact, and don’t know who told her, but it seems right, doesn’t it?

Well, I tell you, I’m near sick of learning!  Goodness, sometimes it’s just hard.  BUT, James in the very start of his book (1:2) tells us that we should be encouraged when we come face to face with problems!  It, in fact, makes us stronger!  It gives us patience.

James has been my man this week.

In my last post I was telling ya’ll the issues Joel and I were having communicating.  Last Thursday, we had two team building/counselor/ladies (Lynee and Shelli) come to Puno and go through a team building session with us.  It was a God send for Joel and I.  We actually had some time with Lynee to work with just us.  I felt that when we got done with her new doors had been opened for us and I had instant relief thinking that everything would be okay.

That was our up.  Ups are times when we are flying on cloud nine.  Or, a perfect example, if I get my hands on a cup of real Starbucks coffee, or if I make a stellar apple pie and it tastes just like mom’s!  These are ups.  And ups in our emotional lives seem to follow Newton’s law of gravity as well and like to come back down.

Sunday, in the morning the Puno team met to talk about what we had planned to do that day, each pair that is, and pray.  Before we prayed we went around the circle and talked about what is happening in our different districts.  When it came to me, I talked for both Joel and I, and said we were excited to have met this girl in Santa Rosa that was mormon, but she was very open to what we had to say.  Even having told her from her window (that’s where she answered… not at the door) that we wanted to talk to her about Jesus, she came down and let us talk to her.  At the end of the sharing with the group I look at Joel and he is shaking his head… He told the story over again and all that I had missed was that she wasn’t mormon, but had visited a Mormon church.

I was stricken.  So, after our group prayer I went off and did my own devotion and prayed by myself.  As I was praying I realized that something that I want very much for our relationship is to center it on Christ.  That’s something Kristen has said her and Franci do.  I have felt that Joel is not interested in doing devotionals together.  Or, whenever we do, he is not responsive and doesn’t contribute to a discussion.  So, I sat in our little prayer room broken and just prayed to God that our relationship would be healed, because it still seems to have its bruises.  When I went in to talk to Joel I asked him if we were on the same page about the girl I had talked about that wasn’t really Mormon.  I wanted to know we were on the same page.  We were on the same page… I told him the way he reacted to what I said hurt… but I don’t know if he didn’t hear me or what, there was no response.  Then, I almost burst into tears as I told him how hard this relationship is and I just told him how important it seems to me that we have a time to do devotions together before we go out for the day.  He wanted to leave right away to our districts, but I told him how I wanted to have our relationship centered on Christ.  So, I asked him if we could that day do a bible study before leaving… and before I could finish my thought he said, “No.”  With a smile even…  It was weird, and you can imagine if I was hurt before, I was devastated then.

We went out… without doing a study.  We went to Santa Rosa.  And I had a sadness in my heart.  But, God was speaking to me.  I realized, perhaps this is going to be the way it will be.  Perhaps we will have good moments, but when it comes to work we will butt heads.  Maybe our relationship will never be what I had hoped that it would be.  But… but I have a job to do.  I can’t do it alone, that is for sure.  Yea, sure, I need Joel’s help.  He’s Peruvian and he’s got the culture thing down.  But, more than I need Joel… more than I need all of his experience and knowledge from his seminary, more than the color of his skin, eyes, hair, more than anything I need God.  I can have the worst day in the world with Joel and still have to leave to do this job and if we depend solely on God we will have success!

So, we went out just like Joel wanted, and I was surprised that the sadness in my heart was not anger.  I was in communion with Him as we walked around Santa Rosa.  We ended up bumping into a woman knitting on the sidewalk.  I was surprised, because I was the one who initiated everything.  I started our conversation and I even lead us into talking with her about the Gospel.  I think that I had mentioned in a previous blog that I had been afraid to talk to people about the Gospel in a foreign language.  But, I was just calm and content to talk with this woman.  It turns out that she seems to have been looking for God for a while now and likes to read the Bible, but doesn´t understand it.  So, we are going to be meeting with her on Sunday at 10 or 11 in the morning!  This simply enforced the lesson that God was just teaching me.  It was such a blessing.

Lately, something that I am struggling with is my attitude.  Like I said, James has been my man this week.  He, along with Kristen, have helped me to see that I get angry… a lot.  In Jame´s first chapter it talks about being slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to wrath.  I have been rather wrathful.  I have been praying a lot about this.  Living in a house with a ton of people sometimes can be very difficult to have an attitude constantly directed toward peace.  I tell you this so you can pray.

The Lord has really been spilling his blessings on our work.  All of this attack is predominantly for the progress that we have been making in our districts.  In Santa Rosa we had a visit this past Wednesday with Vilma.  When  we got to her house she had her husband there with her.  I was a bit shocked and leery about having him there, but we went through our lesson and at the end he asked us when we could come again!  He also told us not to forget about them.  My eyes well up with tears every time I think about him… it´s amazing to see God´s hand at work.

God is definitely at work here.  We have a place to teach English at and will have our first lesson on Thursday.  Please, pray that we get a good group of kids that are willing to learn.  Pray for their parents as they see what we are doing as a service.

This has been a nice long piece for you guys!  I hope that winter is thawing nicely and that spring is on it´s way soon!

-Trev

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Somewhat Going Out of My Mind

It’s 43 degrees Fahrenheit here in Puno, Peru.  Some of you in Ohio might be thinking, I would kill for that kind of weather… you really wouldn’t if you didn’t have central heating.  We don’t have central heating.  But, something that I always enjoyed about winter’s is being able to bundle up in several layers of clothing, though I may not be able to touch my sides with my arms without splitting some seams.  Just kidding, it’s not THAT cold, but I am debating on whether I should drink my second to last Starbucks VIA or save it.  Oh, the choices.  It’s so hard.

So, why am I going out of my mind?  Spiritual warfare is real.  That’s why.  Satan loves to play with my mind when it comes to relationships.  My partnership with Joel has been bumpy, to say the least, these past few weeks.  We are finding that it is harder for us to communicate than we had thought.  I don’t know if I should say “we,” it’s mostly me.  I’m so relationship driven… and to find that I’m not the perfect friend that I thought I was has been a painful realization.  Satan is trying to use my own strengths against me.

I was just talking to my friend Kristen this morning about something that Joel did yesterday that bothered me, and I had just talked with her last night also about something that we had discussed (Joel and I) that had turned into an argument of sorts and she told me… “you need to be more confident in Joel.”  It’s true.  And then Amanda told me that I tend to downplay his opinions or plans.  I make him look stupid.  I DO JUST THAT!!!!  I very often have the horrible perception that if we don’t see eye-to-eye on something I view him as badly educated… or stupid.  And a lot of times I find that I talk down to him.

For Pete’s sake… I never thought it would be this hard.  The time we went through school together, yea, I found that class work with him was hard to do together, but I guess I didn’t foresee how it would affect our work together on the field.

Please, pray for me and my perceptions, that my heart isn’t ugly.  I know I’ve talked about how I’ve discovered this leader inside me, it’s so new to me I don’t know how to handle him.  Pray that God will guide me and show me what kind of leader I need to be and how Joel and I can be leaders together.  I’ve heard one of the main reasons missionaries go home is caused by issues with other missionaries.

Also pray for Leonor and her husband.  She is a contact we have been discipling and her husband is an abusive alcoholic.  We are praying that God changes his heart and sees a change in her that will inspire him to look into what she has.

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