Greetings from Riverside Language School! Christie and I pray that God is blessing you each day with a greater relationship with Him — and that every day you are experiencing life in His kingdom. I know that is what He wants for us.
It’s been over three weeks since I’ve written; and I apologize. It’s difficult for Christie and I to get into town very often to use the internet — and the internet itself is incredibly slow when we do have the opportunity to use it. So if you have written us and not received an email in return, please know that we really really appreciate hearing from you, even though it may seem that our actions do not show it. When we do make the 30k round-trip to wait 3 minutes for each individual email to load, it is SO GOOD to know there are people who care about us and are writing us. We really value hearing from you.
So… language school. Christie and I are sharing a small cabin with Carson and Holly McNeal. Each couple has their own bedroom, and we share a bathroom and shower between us. The bed is comfortable, and we even have a small refrigerator and an electric water kettle (for my many cups of coffee). The mice are present, but few. And they’re cute. Though christie didn’t seem to think so when she found one chewing his way into her chapstick on the nightstand next to her head. Hey, rodents need healthy lips too.
All of our meals are provided for us while here at school. and they’re delicious. The staff does a pretty good job of blending western and Tanzanian tastes and ingredients. The average meal here consists of two or three choices each of starches, meats, and vegetables. There is usually also some kind of fruit available. We eat in a large thatched roof banda without walls. The meals are buffet-style — and all-you-can-eat. [Until I was in college, I thought those two things were the same. now I know that they aren’t, but always should be.]
We have class from 8:00-1:00, Monday through Friday. The teachers are great, and we are learning really fast. They even have enough teachers for Christie and I to be the only students in our class. So we get a lot of practice speaking what we’re learning. Swahili is not quite as easy as I thought it was going to be, though, because there are so many prefixes, suffixes, subject markers, tense markers, object infixes, etc involved. There’s so much going on in Swahili verbs. (It’s easy to give all the information contained in one of our English sentences in just one Swahili verb). But it follows a really nice pattern that seems to have very few exceptions. We’re three weeks and two days in at this point, and I don’t yet feel comfortable speaking, but i do feel confident that i will — if that makes any sense.
Outside of class we spend a lot of time studying to keep up with the vocabulary we’re given in class. My best estimate is that we are learning (or being given anyway) an average of 35-40 words a day. It’s been really easy while here to schedule regular bible study and prayer times as well — and to worship as a team and visit churches in town. It’s a real blessing to have this time of language learning also be a time of personal spiritual growth. The rest of our free time is spent running, swimming (in the river next to camp), walking on a slackline (one of our new hobbies — google it if you need to), watching movies, playing rook, and setting mouse traps.
Christie is now officially in her second trimester, and is healthy and doing well. I know that our child is now the size of a fist (we’re guessing the size of christie’s and not mine, since last week he/she was only the size of a peach) and that Christie has jumped off the big rock into the river for the last time (no injuries or anything — just playing it safe for safety’s sake). We’ve been throwing some names around, and are not at all against taking suggestions from family and friends…
- that God will continue to bless our team’s spiritual growth in Him
- that God will continue to bless Christie and our fist-sized baby with health
- that God will continue people’s hearts in Geita for the message of His kingdom
- that God will continue to loosen our tongues to speak Swahili
- that God will bless our families, while we are apart from them — especially with fist-sized on the way
There is something I love about looking at a list of prayer requests in which each request begins with, “that God will….” It just reminds me to let God do the accomplishing, and for me to rest in Him and in His work and in the certainty that He always knows and does best. May He bless you with hearts rich with love for Him.