challenge #1: language

Throughout my short stay here in Bolivia, the language learning has been my most difficult challenge. There is a lack of all confidence that comes with not understanding another language sufficiently, which only adds to the struggle of understanding. It is frustrating to only have a small list of Spanish that I have to work with in order to convey my thoughts. However, the most difficult aspect of the language learning has been with the encounters that I have had with Americans. There are several Americans that I have met during my stay here who are either fluent or almost fluent in Spanish as their second language. Along with their confidence in the language, there tends to be a level of arrogance that they have added to their knowledge. I do not think that this is specifically an American trait, but a trait that many people share, myself included. As humans, we often forget the hardships that we have faced along the way to accomplishing anything of consequence and unfortunately, this forgetfulness is never helpful to anyone who is experiencing similar hardships at the present time. Interestingly enough, the people that have been the most patient and the most encouraging to me, have been the Bolivians who have not attained a second language. They are humble and that is one of the most helpful traits a person can have if the desire to encourage a language learner. For me to point out the distinction of pride accompanied by knowledge and humility accompanied by the lack of knowledge is not to say that learning a second, third, or fourth, language is not to be attempted. I only want to point out that with knowledge, arrogance often follows, but it does not have to. We all need to realize that even with as much knowledge as we think that we might have, how ever many degrees that we may have attained over years of sweat and pain, in the grand scheme of God’s plans, we know nothing. We must be reminded all too often that “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 3:23-24, ESV emphasis added). There is no one on this earth that can save themselves with their earthly knowledge. NO ONE. I am convinced that the only reason why people are capable of learning other languages at all is because of God’s grace, not their own superhuman powers. I pray that the Lord will be humbling humans left and right so that through language, He might reveal that it was by His power that we have obtained the abilities to communicate with others in even the smallest capacity.

challenge #1: language

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