Thursday, August 1, 2013

Learning some new moves- by Dana

Quinn’s and my time in language school is drawing to a close.  Quinn’s next steps in Business as Mission are a bit more defined than mine.  I’m on the lookout for what ministry opportunities will  arise.  In some ways I feel so helpless with my language skills.  After 3 months, I am about at the level of an 18 month old baby.  Gaining ground in Spanish will open up more ways to serve here.  However I was happy to be asked to speak last weekend at Comunidad Cristiana Belén (Bethlehem Christian Community) on the topic of friendship. 
Angelica and Dana speaking together

One of the directors of our language school is Angelica Echalar.  She’s a bright, caring and committed Christian.  Quinn and I both have enjoyed classes with her as she’s engaging and expressive and anything she says in her native language sounds so beautiful and romantic.  My Spanish will never mimic hers I’m afraid!   Today in Bolivia is Día de la Amistad, a day to express friendship through cards and the like. 

So when she asked me to speak at her church, I was honored.  Angelica translated my message sentence by sentence or phrase by phrase if I got too wordy.  At first when I put together my thoughts on friendship, I worried that there wouldn't be any “meat” to the topic.  And yet as I dug into examples of Jesus’ friendship and the many passages throughout Scripture on friendship, I was quickly surprised at how much I wanted to say.

After the message, a young woman asked me again for some of the Scripture references and said she thought the talk was “just for her.”  She said she’d been missing her friends during her time away from her regular friends and family, and she was encouraged by the talk.  This feedback made my day.

Paola and the Sparkle kids
Taking the lead from Mother Theresa’s wise quote that, “We can only do small things with great love,” I have also been helping a local group launch “Sparkle,” a music and movement class for toddlers.  My friend Paola (the one who helped us find our apartment) is the leader and she hopes to use the Sparkle classes to bless small children and their moms, while gently introducing young families to the love of God.  She has the support of her church, sister, and our children’s school.  And yet she still craves a bit of help with the dishes and has needed “practice kids” so she can rehearse teaching before the first class.

And so Kellton and Astoria have learned the Spanish songs and the fun movements, and I have helped in small ways washing the dishes and serving refreshments after class.  At the very first class, I enjoyed seeing a grandmother and toddler, and several moms who appeared to come from very different walks of life, all enjoying Coca tea and chocolate cake at the end of class.  The love of God was there and I am thankful to have this tangible opportunity to pray for and help with this creative outreach.

A good description of Angelica and Paola is found in Proverbs 11:24-26 (NIV)  One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.  A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.  (emphasis mine)
The moms enjoys some tea and cake while the babies play.
Astoria enjoys the dancing in Sparkle.