In my extended time stateside I am putting in my fair share of 'nose in book time'. There is quite a bit of literature in the missions world about missionary kids and since missionary kids are my primary ministry, I figured I would do some reading on my people. Many of these books I have skimmed during my years teaching at Rift Valley Academy in Kenya, Jason's Alma Mater (though he graduated a few years times 3 before I arrived to teach).
In Raising Resilient MKs I was reading a few chapters on language learning for children, a topic that greatly interests me because all of the McCropder kiddos (except Anna) are non-readers and are being exposed to many different phonetic sounds in their language rich acquisition years from French to Swahili to Kirundi to the 44 phonetic sounds of English. I so resonated with the introduction to Second Language Issues for MK's in National Schools.
"Few missionaries forget the day they arrived on the field. It generally ranks right up there with their first kiss, the day Kennedy was shot, or learning the truth about Santa, in terms of their recall power. Often equally accessible in the memory bank of missionaries is the first day of language study. Regardless of all that mission agencies do to prepare a fledgling missionary, the first encounter with a new language often arrives like a punch or a bucket of cold water, even when one has been forewarned and forearmed."
The McCropders in Banga, Burundi have now been in country for a month and that is certainly worth celebrating! I'm sure Kirundi continues to hit "like a punch or a bucket of cold water", so please be praying for our team as we, at times, trudge through learning new languages. I continue to work on French from the states and am amazed and grateful at the numerous French speakers who willingly submit themselves to French conversation with me. Language partners is key to language progress.
- Pray for our language helpers who so patiently assist and encourage us in our language endeavors.
- Pray for humility of heart as learning language hits our pride and sense of identity.
- Pray for a great sense of humor in language learning.
- Pray for encouragement along the route that at times seems to take 2 steps back for every step forward.
Just for fun:
If you are interested in listening to some Kirundi, let me recommend one of my favorite language learning tools. www.bible.is has online Bibles in many languages and options for listening. Listen to John 3 in Kirundi to have an idea what the McCropders sound like during their Kirundi classes.