International Ministries

Poco a Poco (Little by Little

March 20, 2016 Journal
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We are now about three quarters of the way through our first trimester of language school. Wow, is it going fast! Peter and I love our teachers, we clearly see their gift of teaching and are so thankful for each of them. God is using our teachers, the process of language learning, and our time as a family in Costa Rica to teach us a lot. Keep reading to learn about one of those many lessons.

 A phrase that we often hear during our language learning is ‘poco a poco’ which means little by little. When we arrived 3 months ago, I was excited and eager to use my limited Spanish, learn more and learn it quickly. But, what I have struggled with is having complete peace with and extending myself grace in this process of learning Spanish. It is going slower than I wanted. I constantly have to remind myself that this will take time and that I will make many mistakes while learning Spanish, as well as that this is going to be a lifelong process. Somedays, I can clearly see the progress I’ve made and it is so encouraging. For example, the other day I was the only student in our Language (speaking) class so I spent the entire 40 minute class talking to my teacher in Spanish. It was the encouragement I needed that day. Then on other days it is the extreme opposite, as if I’ve forgotten everything I’ve learned or I say something that makes absolutely no sense and makes everyone laugh, myself included. For example, the other day I wanted to say ‘I fed my baby’ but what I said was: ‘I ate my baby’! Opps However, for every discouragement that is experienced God gives me and my family numerous blessings and encouragements. It is those blessings and encouraging moments that we as a family are intentionally and learning to focus on. 

 Every Saturday or Sunday we do our main grocery shopping for the week at the local ‘feria,’ it is what we would refer to as a farmer’s market in the states. Only at the feria you can buy more than just fruits and vegetables, you can buy fresh coconuts, meat (fish, chicken, beef, bacon, ham, etc), cheese, beautiful flowers, fresh ground coffee, and so much more! It is a huge blessing to be able to do the majority of our grocery shopping in one day and be able to practice our Spanish. One vendor that we love to see each week helped me understand the reality of ‘poco a poco.’ We always have a short conversation with him, he always has an encouraging word for us about our Spanish, and patiently tries to teach us new words each week. He has a kind, caring and patient heart. On one of these encounters with him, while discussing our Spanish studies I had an ‘a ha’ moment! And it was with the three simple words that he said “Poco a poco.” It was as if God breathed a luminous light and renewed hope into my clouded reality that day. I walked away from that conversation with a renewed perspective, that poco a poco I will learn Spanish. Every day is a new day to learn something new, even if it is one new word or successfully making a phone call in Spanish, or simply laughing at my silly mistakes and learning from them. 

 Just by accepting the resurrection of Jesus Christ in our life, poco a poco God changes and transforms our life.   As we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus for the first time out of the United States, I am reminded that our salvation is assured in the work Christ did on the cross and his resurrection.  This gives us hope that we will be transformed and grow in our relationship with Christ to become more like Christ.  Just as we are learning to be patient and let the language come, in our faith journey, we need to be patient and let the Holy Spirit work in our lives as we pray daily, read God’s Word, and spend time in relationship with Him.

Thank you for your prayers and support.  We do need some more one-time donations to keep us on the field so that we can transition directly to the Dominican Republic this December.  There will be a matching gifts campaign starting in the middle of April, be looking for more information on this in the next few weeks and be in prayer concerning what you or your church may be able to give.