8 years ago I went with a group from my church to Ensenada Mexico. My home church, First Free Lincoln, partners with a church in Ensenada. That trip may have been my least fruitful one while I was there due to problems with a tooth and developing bronchitis. But when we step out and follow God’s leading, nothing is wasted. In the midst of what was perhaps my most disappointing experience in missions trips, something happened while I was praying one morning.
As I was praying, I felt the Lord was showing me I should study Spanish. My first reaction was to wonder if it was for real because I was already in my early 50s. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy learning and experiencing new things, but to study Spanish in a college class seemed a bit crazy to me. So I prayed- “If you want me to study Spanish, the class has to be at the downtown campus and at 5:30 or I can’t do it because of my schedule.
After I returned from Mexico, I went to visit my brother in Wisconsin for the 4th of July. As I was driving back to Lincoln from visiting my brother the persistent thought about studying Spanish kept coming to mind. So I went to the registration office for the college where I teach ESL to check on Spanish courses. I found out the Spanish class at the downtown campus at 5:30 in the evening had 1 more opening. I thought- “Confirmation of what God is telling me.” I signed up for the class.
That led to a year of discovery for me about myself and the beautiful Spanish language. I loved the classes and surprised myself at how well I did in the classes.
Studying Spanish also opened doors of opportunities for me to share Christ’s love with my Hispanic friends in Lincoln. It has been a huge blessing to get to know friends from Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, and Puerto Rico. It has been so much fun to join my friends for various celebrations.
Studying Spanish also helped me be a better ESL teacher because while I was studying, I observed different techniques my profesoras used and also as I studied I gained new practical insights into language learning.
A few things I learned from the whole experience.
1- If an idea comes to you while praying that seems a bit crazy, don’t dismiss it too quickly. Explore it and get confirmation.
2- We are never too old to learn. 🙂
3- Enjoy the adventure of learning.
4- God will lead us to do things that others might wonder about.
The last point leads me to share that some of my friends wondered if I would be able to do well because the conventional wisdom is that language learning is more difficult the older we get. Well, in the three courses I took I got an A, A, and A+. God doesn’t care about “conventional wisdom” when he calls us to do something. All we need to do is read the bible and see how many times God called people to do something that went against so called conventional wisdom. A few examples:
1- He called a shepherd boy to be king of Israel.
2- He blessed Abraham and Sarah with a son when Sarah was in her 90s.
3- Jesus took uneducated fishermen and turned them into apostles who would start the church.
What adventures has God called you to?
Thanks for reading and God Bless 🙂