Tuesday, July 26, 2011

La Pared

Yesterday I started learning with my new teacher, Sonia.  She is very nice, and is a Christ-follower.  We love talking together about Jesus.  She brought her Bible to class today, and it is a Spanish language version of the Good News translation. 

My dad used this with his storefront ministry in Toronto many years ago.  It was fun to see those familiar simple line drawings (if you’ve seen that version, you know what I’m talking about!).

If only we could do nothing but talk about the Bible!  Last week I started feeling a bit tired, and I’m afraid that has continued.  Today was as close to tears as I’ve been.  It seemed like I couldn’t get anything to stick in my brain.
We spent some time with Sonia asking me simple questions like: Who are you?  Me llamo Kimberley.  No.  Que estas tu?  Yo soy Americana.  No.  Que estas tu?  Yo soy estudiente.  No.  Que estas tu?  By this point, I was frustrated and sick of trying.  Que estas tu?  Yo no se.  I don’t know. 
The answer she was looking for was Yo soy Kimberley.  I am Kimberley.  She wanted me to know how to respond if someone asks me that question, but I just couldn't get it.
In English we call it ‘hitting the wall’.  The Wall in Spanish is La Pared.  Whack!  Conjugate Tener in Present tense...now in Preterit.  Whack!  Give me a sentence in Preterit..now in Present.  Whack!  A donde… De donde… Donde… Whack, whack, whack.
A dear friend who is a missionary in a closed country gave me some really good advice before I left the U.S.  She encouraged me to treat language school like it was a part of my ministry, not just the road towards ministry that is going to start in the future. 
As a Christ-follower, how do I handle these feelings of frustration?  How do I keep my overwhelmed brain from turning me into a major grumpy-pants?  How do I show Jesus to the teachers and other students, to Dona Cristi and my house-mates, when I’ve run full-out into La Pared?
This morning Sonia and I were looking at Philippians, which is probably my favorite book in the Bible.  She had underlined 4:4-7, where Paul admonishes the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord.  Always.  Even when my brain feels like mush and I cannot answer a simple question.  Rejoice and give thanks.  Even when all I want to do is close my door and eat pan dulce (and maybe some chocolate!)
Today I choose to give thanks for those who went before me, translating the Bible into English so that I can read it in my ‘heart language’.  I choose to give thanks for my parents and others who have shown me Jesus in the midst of their own collisions with walls.  I choose to praise God that through His Spirit, I am able to be here, struggling and learning.   
Thank you, Father, for who You are.  Thank you that when Jesus met walls of unbelief, of suffering, of temptation, He persevered.  In Your power, Holy Spirit, may this wall be transformed from a place of defeat into a testament to Your strength. 
Continue to refine me, removing from me all that is not of You.  Use this weak and exhausted vessel to shine out Your glory.  I rejoice that You are near.  I give you my anxiety, and I embrace Your peace which passes understanding.  Ayudame, Dios!   Necesito tú ayuda!


  1. Wow do I remember those feelings well! You'll get past the wall, keep you focus on God! That's some good advice there too.