Language Learning

A small sample of our Hungarian Language Resources
A small sample of our Hungarian Language Resources

In junior high and high school I studied Latin and French. Learning Latin was great because it really helped me with vocabulary. The French really didn’t stick with me. Actually, I really didn’t stick with it. I took French for two years and I can remember part of one song. That’s it.

The language I had the most exposure to as I was growing up was Hungarian. I caught a few things here and there and even went to a Hungarian school in Pennsylvania one summer. As a family we would say “Come Lord Jesus be our guest…” in Hungarian. I also learned several children’s songs. Today I actually take Hungarian lessons with two of our kids and it has been quite an effort for me. I think they are picking it up more quickly than I am. Once we realized we had relatives who only spoke Hungarian, it became a bigger motivator for us to learn. There was a focus.

Language learning builds new pathways in your brain. It enriches your view of the world if you include cultural studies about the country and people group associated with the language you study. It can also enhance your geography skills. It could open the door for mission work in the US with immigrants from that country or short/long term mission work in that other country.

Do you know someone endeavoring to learn a language right now? Consider praying for their language acquisition skills. If you know someone in language school for mission work, pray for them to be able to pick up the language quickly. If you know of international students in the US learning English, pray for them as well. Many families come to the US with few English skills and their children bridge the gap by learning English quickly in school. The child who serves to interpret for his parents is in a unique situation. While it is easy to criticize these parents for not learning to read, write, and speak English fluently, remember that language learning as we get older is not easy. And certainly learning English is not easy. If you find you have a great annoyance towards immigrants not learning English while they live here, consider praying for their language skills and then consider volunteering with a church or local organization with their ESL (English as a Second Language) program. Getting involved in the process will enhance your understanding and grow your compassion and put your skills to good use.

Speaking from experience, focusing on HSL (Hungarian as a Second Language) is not an easy task. I had the privilege of hearing the rhythm of Hungarian in my brain since the day I was born and while pronunciation is easier for me than maybe for someone else who has never heard the sounds, it still is a very difficult language for me to learn. Thankfully God placed several fluent Hungarian speakers in my life right here in Evansville, Indiana! Imagine that! My goal is to a least become casually conversant. If you don’t know anyone else to pray for concerning language learning then I invite you to pray for me!

Adoption

I think about all the joys and challenges that surround the word of adoption and it is so full of prayer possibilities. I am sure we all know at least one family impacted by adoption in some way. Lift them up in prayer because there are times when it takes a lifetime to process the impact of adoption. Whether they are going through a time of discouragement or a time of celebration, pray God reveals His loving care to them each step of the way and pray they can recognize His work in their lives.

Here are some ideas to get you started if you are drawing a blank:

the adopted
the birth mother
the birth father
the birth grandparents
the adopting family (parents, other children, grandparents)
the challenges (and joys) of international adoption
Adoptions involving disabilities

There are so many adjustments, expectations, joys, waits, and hurts that those in any of the above categories experience through the process of adoption. Take time to pray for and encourage those you know who have an experience relating to adoption in their lives.

Do Not Enter!

If I ever see this street sign when I am driving my vehicle, I do not intentionally drive down the road that way. But I confess that during my life I have been stubborn, determined, and foolish enough to make choices that took me down a path that was clearly marked Do Not Enter!

I suspect you remember doing something like that too. I hope you can remember both the times when you clearly chose the better path and the times when you blew it because both are important to keep in mind. When I see someone heading down a path that isn’t good, I definitely pray for them. If I am in a position to chat with them, I consider doing that too. But what I really want to do is jump up and down and say “Don’t do it!” Sometimes my concern comes from personal experience — I traveled down a similar path and endured some difficult consequences. Other times my age and life experience can help me see when something might not turn out well.

Where did I get that experience? From making poor decisions and learning where those decisions can lead. There are times lessons can be learned vicariously but there is a certain segment of the population that feels the need to throw caution to the wind and forge their own difficult path. Pray for them as you see them traveling. God can redeem difficult situations and circumstances. He has done it for me and He can do it for you.

In the Mood

Sometimes I walk around the kitchen wondering what sounds good to eat and while there are multiple options at home, I am not “in the mood” for any of them and I think about where I can go buy what sounds good.

Really now? There are people starving and I am considering what I am in the mood to eat?

Sometimes I have so many things I need to do but I am not “in the mood” to do any of them. Should I really let whether I am “in the mood” to do something or not have an impact on what I choose to do? Chances are high that if I am not “in the mood” for something it might be exactly what I am supposed to be doing but I am just announcing (in an acceptable way) how I really feel about it. Most people I know aren’t ever in the mood for taxes, a huge pile of dishes or laundry, dealing with debt or _______________ (you fill in the blank) but they are all things in need of attention and focus.

Our attitude towards a task or requirement is important. I have been trying to watch how often I claim to be in the mood or not in the mood for something. I’ll admit, it seems whether I am “in the mood” for something or not likely means that I am being selfish but how often do I say that out-loud? Selfishness or looking-out-for-number-one is very acceptable and sometimes we hide behind the phrase in the mood because it is readily understood and socially acceptable and it has plagued us for thousands of years.

Here is what Paul writes in Romans 7:

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. [Romans 7:14-25 NIV]

Lord, transform my thinking and my doing. Help me to not pause and consider whether I am in the mood or not when something needs to be done. Help me to have the desire to get it done and with a pleasant attitude. Thank You for Your transforming work in my life. Help me to have Your attitude! Amen!

Missions: Countries & People Groups

Map of Old Hungary
Last weekend, Don and I stepped out of our typical world of college admissions and invoicing/public relations/running a household & business and connected in with a church body (E Free) and their conference about their mission efforts in Hungary. I think they have been sending people to Hungary for at least 13 years. The most interesting thing to me was that no one there seemed to have any connection to Hungary by ethnicity except for one guy, who was a Hungarian from Hungary, and me. But these people were all so passionate about Hungary and her people. God gave them a heart for Hungary! And then I read Kisses from Katie and she, too, had no ethnic connection to Uganda, but fell in love with the people of Uganda. God gave Katie a heart for Uganda!

If you don’t have a heart for a certain country maybe God is giving you a heart for a people group. Some people become connected to and passionate for a country or a people group because they have heard a missionary speak. Maybe you know a missionary in the field who has asked for prayer. Ask God to cultivate in you a heart for encouraging those who serve in missions and a passion for sharing the Gospel. And ask Him to give you a heart for something bigger than yourself!

As you pray for a country or people group, consider these PrayerPoint starts:

* receptive hearts to the Gospel
* native ministry partners
* creative & relative connecting points to share the Gospel
* funds needed for the workers and programs
* careful spending of the funds donated
* healthy and multiple partnering churches and church bodies
* creative ways to work through governmental issues
* language barriers to be removed
* the Gospel to be shared in many ways
* long-term relationship building

If you have a certain country on your heart, keep in mind, you may never be called to serve there. Being a prayer partner for a country or a people group is a big job but don’t be so overwhelmed that you are unable to do anything. Take it one step at a time. Learn about the country. Trace a map and label the top 5 cities. There are other hands on and practical ways to become more connected to a country. And if you have kids or work with kids, follow their lead. Encourage them to adopt a country or multiple countries during a year. If you do it monthly in your home or classroom you can pray for 12 countries in a year!

I do suspect God will grant you a heart for a country or a people group if you ask Him because He loves people. If you ask Him for a heart like His, He will certainly grant you a heart for missions. Having a heart for missions opens the door for God to work and develop in you a heart for certain people.

And who knows where that might lead.

More Missions & Missionaries

Do you know someone serving in an “outside the US” mission field or planning to go on a short term in 2013? Have you considered praying for them on a regular basis?

Here are some PrayerPoints for missionaries to get your mind thinking. I am sure God will bring more to mind if you just ponder it for a few minutes.

language acquisition
cultural awareness and sensitivity
separation from US family
safety
relationship development
culinary adjustments
climate acclimation
discernment

Being a missionary to a foreign land takes much more obedience then just saying “Yes, send me!” Intercessory pray-ers are essential. Fund raising is necessary. If you have been invited to support a short or long term missionary in some way, prayerfully consider the offer. Even if you haven’t been personally been asked to support someone, hopefully your church is sponsoring some a missionary or some sort of mission work. Expand your world by connecting with a missionary. Your connection will definitely be an encouragement to them but will most likely change you in the process.

Keeping It Real

When was the last time you had an honest heart-to-heart conversation with someone you trusted? My prayer is that you have a person (or two) with whom you can share a deep burden and be real about how things are going in your life. Sometimes I get caught up in what I want my life to look like or what I think it ought to look like that I occasionally misrepresent my reality by not sharing my struggles. And sometimes it is easier to not reveal the struggles and stresses in my heart. But if I only mention my “woohoo moments” then people who don’t know me well have no idea that I have many moments when I blow it or they are unaware of things that I am “in limbo” on.

Where is the balance?

It is hard to know what to share, how much to share, with whom to share, and when to share it. I certainly can’t share everything all the time. I don’t know that it’s wise and it would take all of my day! But I do know that a part of being in and creating a sense of community is sharing my struggles as well as my joys. We are imperfect people living amongst imperfect people in an imperfect world. We each have recurring struggles and sins — sins we cannot seem to shake. Some of those sins are even addictions. Sometimes it’s downright ugly. Usually so.

Some of the power of a stronghold is released when it is brought out into the light. Confession brings embarrassment and shame at times but it also can foster accountability. Some struggles are evident but the secret ones are probably the most damaging. So be careful to not invest all your energy on spiffying up your outward appearance. Allow God full access to transform your heart. Be willing to be humbled by confession–it doesn’t always need to be to a person–sometimes a confession is only meant for God. But consider allowing a trustworthy someone else know one of your most difficult struggles. You may find a great prayer warrior and your friendship will likely move to a deeper level. But you don’t know until you try.

If we want people to “be real” with us we often need to “be real” first. Do you have a friend you can be honest with about the ugly parts of your life? I pray you do or you will soon. Always ask God for discernment on what to share and when to share it. And be prepared to hear some real stuff. This is real life. We each experience real struggles. We all need real hope and forgiveness. I am so thankful for God’s hope and forgiveness in Jesus and our privilege to live together in community with one another ~ sometimes we are called to listen and sometimes we are called to share but I also believe we are called to “be real”.

God’s Promptings

I wish I could tell you I always responded to the nudges I get from God, but I don’t. Sometimes I am too dense, too tired, too vulnerable, too distracted, too impatient, too independent, too wrapped up in my life and my crazy situations to pay attention to what God is showing me or asking me to do.

I can get as crabby as I want with my kids or my husband for not responding to me ~ aren’t I queen of their world? But I act so similarly when it is God requesting me to incline my ear to Him or use my hands to serve one of His beloved in my midst.

Have you had a situation when you responded to a prompt from God, not having any clue what the impact would be only to hear from someone that it was exactly what they needed at that exact moment to encourage them? Isn’t that just like God? He weaves together two lives, even if only for a moment, to bring encouragement, cheer, confirmation, and the reminder of “I see you, my sweet child, I know you are struggling. Please trust Me as I work out all the details. In time, My love. In My time, My love.

As you still yourself before the Lord with your plans for the day, invite Him to interrupt your schedule and when He asks something of you, be sure to respond! I know He knows we are only human, but if we are regularly too dense, too tired, too vulnerable, too distracted, too impatient, too independent, too wrapped up in our “own” lives and crazy situations to pay attention to what God is showing us or asking us to do then we are clearly missing the point!

If you have a story to share about God prompting you, you responding, and how someone else was encouraged in the faith, please share it! It is such a testimony to God knowing even the tiniest details of our concerns and responding to them!

License & Location

(part 2 of 5)

A good rule of thumb for fishing is to have permission to do it. A permit allows you to fish many places, but not all. Always consult with the owner of the property where the water is located. If you are on private property, I don’t know that you need a license but you certainly need permission.

As soon as I thought about permission being granted I started thinking about Job. Let’s take a look at the conversation between satan and the Lord in Job 1:6-12 :
 

One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” (NIV 1984)

Not only was permission granted: Job was suggested. But that is another topic for another day.

God called the disciples – actual experienced fisherman –  to be “fishers of men”. God calls us today to be fishers of men, but we aren’t the only ones fishing. Satan is also “on location”! While satan is powerful, God is the Almighty. And while it is good to be aware of satan and his minions, it is far better to know God and study how He works! 

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. [Matthew 4:18-20 NIV 1984]

Jesus used the fishers of men analogy because it works. It is easy for a fisherman to see the parallels. I love it when God uses common language to express His extraordinary Truth, don’t you?