I am pressing ahead in learning the local ethnic language. My three weeks at the language school in August and September were a good jump-start. Since then, I’ve made it my goal to study at least an hour each weekday. Outside of that time, I am also doing my personal Bible reading in that language this year. So far, I have read Matthew through Romans and Psalms 1 through 56.

I am thankful for the neighbor who comes over several times a week to assist me with my language study. Sometimes he checks and corrects my writings. On other days, I show him photos, explain the stories behind them, and answer his questions, referring to my reference books as needed and jotting down new vocabulary. On days when he doesn’t come, I read, write, study my grammar book, or learn verses or songs in that language.

I’m not learning the ethnic language as fast as I learned the national language, which is similar to languages I already knew and is my necessary means of communication with most people around me. With many other projects on my plate these days, and with decent fluency in the national language which nearly everyone speaks, language study is less of a priority for me. However, I still desire to learn the ethnic language well, and I would appreciate your prayers in that regard. Please also pray that I will be diligent to correct the mistakes that persist in my use of the national language.

Why am I even learning the ethnic language, if I can already communicate with those around me in the national language? You should see how people’s faces light up when I utter even a few words in their own native tongue. The fact that a foreigner values their culture enough to study their language means a great deal to them, and opens their hearts much wider to friendship — and, I pray, to the Truth which I share with them.

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