Crock Pot Verses Microwave

We want it NOW! We want it NOW!

Ann's Experience with the First Three Months of Language School

Ann ? November 2005

As Americans we pretty much live in a ?microwave? society. We want what we want, when we want it, and that usually means fast and with not much effort. I am realizing that is certainly descriptive of me. Living in Russia for 4 months and studying this language is showing me how much.

A friend who has graduated from the language school after 3 years and speaks very well, recently told me that learning Russian is more like cooking in a crock pot than in a microwave. You?ve got to give it a lot of time to simmer.

Keep the lid on.  Let it simmer. Keep the lid on. Let it simmer.

That has been a great visual for me to focus on as I continue to bump into brick wall after brick wall emotionally with this language. I knew it would be hard. What I wasn?t prepared for was how emotional I would be over it.

I come home most days after class feeling old and stupid. That?s the honest truth. I wish I could give you a ?glowing missionary report? of the miraculous work God is doing with my tongue but I can?t. I can say that I trust that God IS doing a miraculous thing with my heart, even when I don?t understand it. Most of the time if feels like He?s breaking it. Hmmm?. Maybe that?s what I need?

I knew when we moved to Russia that it would be hard. But, because we have been working here over a 10 year period I didn?t think the adjustment to actually living here would be that big of a deal. And actually the ?culture shock? has not really hit me like a brick wall (yet). It?s more like a slow, steady rub that is beginning to form a blister. It?s tender at times, but you just keep on plugging, ignoring the signs that you are really getting rubbed raw.

And I knew that language school would be hard. I?ve never had much of a gift or desire to learn a foreign language. High school French was my hardest subject and almost kept me off the drill team! Even after all the years of working in Russia I just never dreamed God would call us to move here and I have been very content (and lazy) to use an interpreter to be able to communicate.

But God sent us to Russia and gave us this new assignment. I have faith that we heard Him correctly and obeyed to the best of our knowledge. However, I did not anticipate how emotional I would be over my struggles in learning this language. Robert keeps reminding me of how much I?ve learned and considering that I didn?t know the alphabet when we came in July, I have come light years to where I was. But this is a HUGE galaxy and I feel like I am ions away from being able to communicate a true sentence on my own.

When you add to the whole mix a deep seated fear I have about dementia, one that I was not even aware I had until we got to language school, then no wonder I get discouraged. When I study, and study and study and still don?t seem to retain it, the first thing that comes to my mind is my mother?s memory. I watched her dementia progress the last years of her life and I am now realizing what a tool the enemy, the father of lies, has used to discourage me. Memory loss is part of growing older but I think the Lord is showing me to put it in perspective. He knew what age we were when he called us to this task. I don?t think that one slipped by Him. So I would appreciate any help in the battle to fight against the lies of the enemy.

God has called Robert and me to this battle. Right now he has us in boot camp to grasp as much of the language as we can so we can be more effective in the field to which He has called us. I have a deep sense that He is training us in so many other things through all of this besides learning Russian.

So . . . my crock pot is plugged in. Sometimes it feels like it has some loose connections but I desire to be faithful to the call God has put on our hearts. And, possibly because of my wiring, my ?meal? may take longer to be ready. But will you keep me in your prayers by focusing on the Great Chef. It?s all about Him anyway.