Thursday, December 9, 2010

Learn a new language and get a new soul (Czech Proverb)

Well, we've finished St Andrew's Hall training with CMS down in Melbourne and are now starting our 6 months of visiting churches to raise mission awareness and personal support. We're missionaries to southern Africa (South Africa and Zambia)! This is thrilling! But more than that it's part of our very blessed lives where God is teaching and maturing us into the people we are destined to be.

There's been a lot of enforced navel-gazing that comes part and parcel of missionary training. Knowing yourself well will help you to survive longer and more effectively in cross-cultural situations. The following has been perculating in my mind over the long drive between Melbourne to Sydney (with a week stop in Canberra for Cite).

I think that despite graduating with a Bachelor of Divinity after studying for four wonderful years at Moore and being filled with foundational theological truths and biblical confidence, my personal assurance and self-confidence were slowly eroded away in Sydney. I had come down from Brisbane bounding in my own joy in languages and linguistics still a newlywed. I adore institutional learning but I think upon reflection, I was far too intimated for most of those four years and created for myself a tiny corner of impossible standards and soul-crushing respect for those in authority (a distinctly Asian part of my inner being that I think I sometimes believe is godly - but it's not always).

I came out well learned but incapable in some ways of using that knowledge. I had no way during those four years to combine my innermost ministry desires with what I was learning at college. Doing parish ministry is not at all what I want to do. It's a job that is beyond difficult in my eyes and although I'm glad to have tried it for while, it's not what I want to do. My passion is languages. My passion is seeing people know and understand Jesus in their own heart language. And this can still be my innermost passion even though I haven't done it yet!

2010 has been a year of going back to the basics for me. Back to languages. Back to non-English speaking students. Back to linguistics.

Teaching full-time again at the beginning of the year was a big step in re-discovering what I was made to do. I adore teaching. I adore people who don't yet speak English. I was able to use all manner of skills and knowledge that I gained at Moore but also what I had known before.

Moving to Melbourne to do 5 months of training for missionary work was incredibly self-fulfilling. I, like most missionaries-in-training, did *not* want to be there but in the end it was a really eye-opening time of self-reflection, maturation and generally stepping closer and closer to realising my dreams and hopes to do Bible translation.

And now we're only months away from moving to South Africa to live and work in Cape Town and Mongu in Zambia where we can use the skills and education that God has given us to help others grow in the love and knowledge of Jesus Christ. I'm most looking forward to what I will learn and be challenged in. I'm looking forward to being a linguistic baby again when I learn a new language. I'm looking forward to making new friends and finding people who love the same things that I do.