Friday, July 27, 2007

Hills and Valleys

We have had a great few days of training. It is very difficult and challenging, but encouraging at the same time - Lots of Hills & Valleys. Hills: I think we might actually be able to conquer this language learning issue when we get on the field! The strategies we are learning here are awesome! I wish I had known how to use some of them when I was teaching my class of ESL children last year... it would have made their language learning so much easier.
By the way, I guess I finally learned how to breathe (see last post). Whew! That's a relief! I would hate to go through the rest of my life without accomplishing that feat!
Yesterday, we worked with language helpers in small groups and tried to put some of our new strategies in to practice. Laurie was in a German learning group, Billy in French, Ryan in Mandarin Chinese, and Miles in Hindi... we all went in to this activity with much fear and trepidation. However, much to our surprise, we were all able to accomplish the day's assignments and learn the small bit of the language that we were given. Amazing!!! What a "top of the mountain" feeling! If we can learn THOSE languages, we can certainly learn Spanish! Another "hill" - we closed on the house today! Woo Hoo! Actually, that is both a hill and a valley... exciting that we actually sold the house and the process is over, but sad that we no longer have our home of 14 years.
Valleys: On the valley end of things, Laurie has a cold and isn't feeling excellent. It's hard to sit in class and listen to another language and try to learn when your head is full of "runny nose" and your ears are stopped up. The boys are getting tired and are looking forward to sleeping in this weekend. We have HOMEWORK over the weekend! We already had to turn in an assignment today. We have a paper/essay due Monday.
We also just received news of an issue at home that requires prayer. Ron & Amanda Phillips just emailed to say that their baby granddaughter was born last night - 3 months premature. They need prayers and support as they go to Temple to neonatal intensive care to be with their daughter and new granddaughter.
Hills and Valleys require both praise and trust, and a whole lot of faith that God's plan is always excellent, no matter what comes - Hills or Valleys.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Long Road to Peru

We are finally off on the road to Peru! Actually, it has been a year since this endeavor began. It's hard to believe that it was just a year ago that we were in Georgia at The Mission Society offices hoping to be accepted as career missionaries. This summer has been a whirlwind of training and travel... 2 weeks of training in Brazil in June, then 2 weeks at home in Texas to pack up our things and move out of our home, then several days of traveling to visit family on our way to Colorado. We are now at Mission Training International in Colorado for 5 weeks of training (see photo at left). Then we will RAPIDLY drive home to catch our flight in Houston for language school in Costa Rica. AAAAHHHHH!!!! It has been a wild ride this summer! We are tired, stressed, and our heads are about to explode with new information. The kids are hanging in there, but they are just as stressed and tired as we are.

We began our PILAT course today. PILAT is a 2 week intensive training in language acquisition techniques. Really, intensive isn't a strong enough word for it. After about 1 hour of liguistics and pronounciation practice this morning, I was ready to cry. Evidently, I don't know how to breathe... funny, I've managed to stay alive for 41 years, but one of the teachers this morning says that there isn't any air coming out of my mouth. Billy would disagree - he says there is PLENTY of air coming out of my mouth! HA! Anyway, this is a tough course already and this is just the first day!

We had a good time getting up here over the last few days, visiting relatives and sightseeing along the way. See photos of time spent with Drum family (3 pics), Miles with Memaw Maxwell and dessert, and Drum kids in New Mexico...