Well I like to use my blog to document my summer adventures. I suppose this year should be no different.
This year my adventure is in North Dakota. I am in a master’s program for linguistics! It’s fantastic! I won’t bore people with interesting facts, concepts and theories I’ve been learning. I do want to say though, that in my most practical class, Field Methods, I have been studying Chilean Sign Language (LSCh). Because of the nature of signed languages and the awesomeness of our language consultant, we are able to communicate really well. He told us a joke in LSCh and I actually understood most of it!
Other awesome and important things that are happening this summer is that I have finally gotten my interpreter certification for the state of Texas! Praise God! I will have a job when I get back to Dallas! What’s been more amazing is how God has not failed us before. Even without the job, God provided for J and my needs! The job is simply an added bonus! It also feels like a validation that I have certification. My school taught me a lot about how to evaluate my skills, but it feels good that other people have evaluated my skills and found me worthy of interpretation. Not that that should be my focus or value of my worth, but it is certainly a confidence-booster.
God has been teaching me a lot about grace lately as well. It’s a hard thing for me to accept because I want to be able to do it all on my own. I don’t want to be interdependent on people. But the thing is, we need people of all sorts. We were created for interdependency. Most of all we were created for dependency on God. And that as an American especially, is a hard concept to grasp.
I have been exploring a few spiritual topics here, but they all seem to tie in to grace. I have been praying to be more positive inside. Often, I am not positive because I don’t think positive thoughts. If I don’t think it’s true, I won’t say it. Leading me to say negative things which I think are true. To become more of a positive person, I have to think more positively. I cannot be content to put on a facade of positivity. I must actually believe in the positive things I am saying. And that requires a change of heart. I am very slowly getting better. And it’s that difference that I need to keep going back to (because a person who struggles with giving grace struggles more to receive it). Another question that I have had is whether missionaries actually like the people with whom they are working. That was actually the focus of a recent chapel talk. We as Americans are so focused on feeling good and job satisfaction. It is hard for us to realize that maybe God is calling us to a place where we may be unhappy. A place where we may not actually like all of (or any of) the people we work with. It’s hard to think that in that unhappy situation we are “doing God’s will.” After all He wants us to be happy right?
But that’s not actually true. God wants all people to revere Him. He is calling all peoples towards Himself. As a linguist, I have the opportunity to help Him in that goal with new people groups. Other people have opportunities in their companies or with their recreational soccer teams or with their kids’ friends’ parents. The people group that God may be calling me towards may not be a group I really connect with. I may feel like I cannot connect at all with that group. When learning a new language, I often feel like my entire personality is lost. I cannot express myself the way I can in my native tongue. I don’t understand their thought process or their jokes. It may be an exhausting struggle just to communicate my basic needs. That doesn’t mean that I am outside God’s will. That simply indicates that I need to press even harder into Him. He needs to be my strength. He needs to be my satisfaction. We can’t do it without Him no matter how hard or long we may try.