One of the things we students have on our plates while at Missionary Training is to be involved with an outreach in the community. There are so many awesome opportunities in this community, and it's exciting to see what the Lord is doing through these outreaches. Our outreach is one of the more unique ones. We have been working with a Latin Church in the area. We (along with several MTC friends) are in charge of teaching the Youth. Don and I don't speak Spanish (other then a few basic words and phrases) so we are very glad that at least the youth speak fluent english. We have really enjoyed getting to know the students and are loving being involved in this ministry.
It's a small Church, with an awesome Latin Pastor who we are happy to work alongside as he works to establish this church in the community. It's been a challenge to be a part of this ministry as well, because most of the adults in the church only speak Spanish. We have been stretched to try to communicate with them and it has been just a little taste of what we will face overseas. That is actually the reason we chose this because we wanted experience trying to work in another culture. We are working on learning a bit more Spanish and the sermons and worship time are a great time to do that. We both come with our little notebooks and spanish dictionary and often sit next to someone who is bi-lingual so we can ask questions. It has been pretty fun, but sometimes discouraging and uncomfortable.
I am being challenged to step out of my comfort zone. The first time we were at the Church I walked up to a Mexican lady and said "Hi", the lady responded with a "Hi" and I made the classic mistake of thinking she could speak english. The lady looked very confused when I asked her how she was doing. She shrugged her shoulders in bewilderment and I stood there awkwardly as my mind blanked. I knew how to ask her how she was in Spanish, but the awkward moment got the best of me and we just giggled and inched away from each other. I learned quickly that I will have to actually use a few of the Spanish words that I know.
One of the things that God is teaching Don through classes and interaction with the Latin culture is that, people and relationships should be valued over our schedules. It's easy to lose track of the fact that ministry is about people not programs and protocols. We both need to have a people focused way of looking at the world if we are going to be effective in ministry.