For weeks we have been busy learning the language of the Songhai people. Language learning is very interesting. It kind of reminds me of a roller coaster ride. There are terrifying moments – like that feeling you get as the coaster hangs over the edge of the first drop. There are exciting times – like the initial first drop. There are boring moments as the ride drags on doing countless circles. There are the monotonous times when you ride the same coaster again and again countless times becoming bored and tired of even riding it. Then there are the times when vomiting seems necessary. Learning a language has all these characteristics and I think we have been in every stage.
However, we are learning it, and little by little we are able to communicate in the Zarma language. As I mentioned in our prayer letter, learning the language is essential to our ministry here. Very few people here speak English and the ones who do only know a little, so if we are to minister effectively we must have a grasp of the Zarma language.
We have spent nearly every week here studying and speaking the language and still young children could speak circles around us. So we know that grasping the language fluently will take some time, even years of practice. However, we will press on believing God has called us here, so He will provide our minds with understanding and our tongues with communication.
We just recently had a language evaluation and we have been told we are right where we need to be when it comes to language skills. Sarah seems to be doing a little better when it comes to hearing the language and the pronunciation of words, but for all of you who know us that should surprise very few of you. I, however, seem willing to just let ‘er fly spitting out words faster than most people can hear them, which again if you know us should surprise very few of you. If those words always make sense, are pronounced right, or in the right order – well that’s another story.
Please keep us in your prayers as we move to 5 days a week in language study through the month of November. After that we hope to be competent enough to move to our village full time and continue to grow on our own.