Friday, October 28

Learning to communicate

In September we did a one month intensive Spanish language school. It was meant to be a refresher course and hopefully an advancement. The refresher aspect of it ended after about a week when it went into full speed ahead new information -- for us. On the other hand, we were in class with 20 year olds from China, South Korea, Japan and the USA who had been having whole semesters of this same information in universities around the world. Review for them - brand new cram in your head over night and be ready to move on tomorrow for us!

Part of the class too was an introduction to Spanish culture which for us was more often review but for some of the foreign students was very strange and new indeed. Our Asian friends had generally not heard of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the whole Christian thing confused to them. The Spanish seem to take a certain level of Catholic Christianity for granted and don't even see it as religious. For instance, they say, "Jesus" when you sneeze here instead of bless you. We answered some interesting and basic questions for our new young friends.

It's interesting what is normal and what isn't and what it costs to get it in your head. As we added new Spanish information into our brains, we felt our old ways of communicating actually breaking down rather than advancing. It seems that in the scope of language you have to damage it and rebuild it to progress. We are still putting the pieces back together and plan to take some additional conversational classes to do that.

It makes me wonder when we introduce new ideas of the Gospel into cultures via our videos if there is first a disconnect to the old ways of thinking before the process of acceptance of the new ideas. Are we stretching them as hard as we've been stretched lately? It challenges me to make sure the message we send is presenting Christ and his love clearly.