1. early arrival in new territory
2. the first one in any effort
It's safe to say I have qualified for both on many occasions. Here in Chiapas (just a hop skip and a jump from DFW) because of the large Hispanic population in Texas, I don't feel quite so foreign.
Vicki has accused me of holding out my language skills when I have filled out past East West application forms. You are supposed to divulge information and gifts that the team leader can find useful for advancing the Kingdom. Hard as I tried to convince her "I do not speak Spanish," she would just shake her head because when the locals speak to me after I have inquired, "donde esta el bano?" I keep looking at them like I know what they are saying.
My inability was confirmed and her theory banished the first day as I was showing the children my ever handy Coloring Book trick. I asked them to help me color and I started saying all the Spanish words for colors that popped into my head. "Rojo" (red), "Blanco" (white) and "Verde" (green). Then I said what I thought was the word for "orange." The interpreter turned around with a quizzical look and said, "You want them to color spiders?"
I don't speak Spanish!
But I am quite proficient when it comes to charades. Our hotel room doesn't have heat (it drops down to about 65•), but tonight we walked past the room next door and spied a space heater.
There we stood out in the cold night air feeling foolish for not asking the front desk sooner if space heaters were available. Vicki turned to me and said, "Well, why don't you go use those language skills and see if you can find out about that."
YOU CAN'T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT, BUT IF YOU TRY SOMETIMES...
You don't even get what you need but those around you are entertained!
1. Ask if the person speaks English - if the answer is "poco" you might have a shot
2. Use a common word to start the conversation - FRIO (say this while rubbing your arms and shaking)
3. Start by using small English words like "room" and "heater" while motioning with your hands
4. When they answer with more than one word stop them immediately
5. When they start their own game of charades, making motions like
"Put your coat on if you're cold" understand you have failed to communicate
6. Use props - I walked over to the ashtray of the lobby and motioned using an English word by adding an "a" to the end "Machina" as well as the word for hot "caliente". I then rubbed my hands over the top like it held a roaring campfire. I also used non-verbal moans to indicate I was getting warm
Success at last. She said, "Oh ---- (the word for heater that I already forgot) and then she shook her head, "No." Success and failure all in the span of an Alex Tribec Jeopardy round.
"Pioneer" indeed! I think it is safe to say I am the first one to make such an effort to try and communicate "I am cold do you have a space heater?"
Over the last 5 days we have communicated the love of Christ to over 500 children and adults. We have seen professions of faith by several adults who were listening on the sidelines and spoke to the Pastors while we were busy with their children. We have seen the motions of the "Chicken Dance" lighten the load of children carrying children by allowing them to have carefree fun. Yes, the Spirit of the Living God has touched hearts without uttering a word.
Shivering, smiling but serving still
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