Lately, I’ve been trying to spend a small portion of each day reviewing Quechua language skills.
It’s a funny thing about Quechua, it’s a strange language (it’s “Ancient Incan”!) – easy to learn in a few ways, head-scratchingly challenging in others.
One of the parts about becoming fluent in the Quechua language that I think’s most difficult is absorbing Quechua culture deeply enough to “think in Quechua”. That’s the part that comes last in the process of conquering it.
I will never forget how God walked close with me during my ten year process of believing He’d CALLED me to learn the Quechua language, and my WORKING to OBEY that CALL, over the course of ten years and more, never being able to study full time, needing to fit my studies and mini-practicums around the edges of caring for our babies, who grew, in the time’s length of a breath and a sigh, into CHILDREN, educating them, at times almost single-handedly, all the while dealing with the stresses and uncertainties of high levels of political and social unrest and repeated crises and dangers from this quarter. This last characteristic of our life was mainly in the first 15 years after we moved to a much larger city.
I DID have help. I had incredibly great help and support and facilitation for it from my husband, and I had more of the same in the form of a fantastic young girl and friend, named Sara, who helped me full time in our home with cooking, cleaning and laundry.
Three times, during the ten years, I quit.
Three times, during the ten years, God impressed upon my heart that I was to take it back up again, that He would help me, that I could DO this; I COULD learn Quechua. All the way. Fluently.
But, what for? To USE it to love on, serve, teach, approach, and walk closely each day with Quechua women. That was my personal call from God. In this outreacher life, this peculiar, world-wide domain, we don’t all have the same specific call. Your call probably looks completely different; as different as different can be, in the “daily detail” or “how things look in the pictures” way of things. Although, in a broader sense, it’s all the same call.
This morning, in my little 15 minutes, set aside in the self-scheduling of a busy day, to be going back over my language notes, practicing the forms, speaking the drills, working on pronunciation with the audio, I came across this delightful sentence:
“WAWAY, WAWASNYKIRI WAWASNINKUWANPIS PHUJLLASHALLANKUNYATAJCHU?”
(A FOUR- WORD SENTENCE, MEANING “My child, are your own children also now playing with my children?”)
Welcome to the wonderful world of learning the Quechua language, as a native English-speaker, through the Spanish language!
Why am I talking about this? For the sake of you younger, newer ones out there, WITH me, and especially my fellow women. You know what? YOU…..can do it! You can do your present call. And your future call. God is with you, HE walks beside you. He knows you. He knows what your day is like. He knows how hard it is. He’s helping you. He’s more than “helping you” – He is doing it through you, carrying you. YOUR life, you know, what OUR BELOVED has called you to right now? (Washing those diapers with an old washing machine that keeps breaking down, or with no washing machine at all.)
Making those meals with unfamiliar ingredients and hardly any home appliances, getting up for those night feedings, loving difficult and unlovable people, keeping that spark going in your own heart, studying that (OTHER!) frustrating, difficult foreign language, being laughed at, helping and praying for your own ill child. Or your own ill self. Suffering a home robbery. Dealing with political tensions and socio-economic unrest. Our calls, our journeys, are different, one from another. Walking the path of loneliness. Keeping the faith, through long years. Working a job, that GOD’s called you to work, as part of a team to reach HIS ends, for HIS glory. Trusting through the unexpected, when you don’t yet know what the next step is going to look like. Or, dealing with heart-wrenching crises…
Take the longterm view of things. Set down your goals, your personal goals, in this “outreacher” and stretching life, on paper. Remember, remember always how much God loves you and is working out the best for you if you continue to let Him. Be organized. Break your goals down into strategies, then into “to do” lists. Pray over it all. Trust God. Then, as your act of believing, stick with it.
Don’t forget to relax and enjoy the funny little things, the outrageous little things, tender little things, intriguing little things,deep little things, along the way.
Along the way…. YES. It’s the “along the way” that turns out, in the end, to be the very best reward of all!
And hold the bar high, trusting, because God can do it, in you.
This past Sunday morning, sitting in church here in Bolivia, the corporate worship time was about to start and, as I looked forward I saw three rows ahead of me part of a young blond “worker” family whom I know only a little bit.
The husband was gone, the wife explained to me later that morning that he’d had to travel to a different part of the country to get some paperwork done for their family. Their 3 little kids were getting extra hugs and kisses from an, also, blond woman sitting beside the wife throughout the morning. I smiled to myself as I realized the husband’s mother had been able to come here and visit the family for several weeks.
It took me back, to the wonderful time of THIS photo, for OUR family, when my husband’s parents had come to stay with us and help us, for a month, and we’d taken them to this village, to meet this Quechua family with whom we closely worked, at the time! Our two (at the time! then it became three, when our daughter was born in Sucre, but that was a bit after this!) little ones and us parents, too, blossomed and flourished with great satisfaction and a deep sense of abundance and benevolence, for that awesome month that Mom and Dad Bentley traveled all the way to Bolivia and invested in our young family. It was a huge gift from the Lord to my husband’s and my hearts and well-being. This is Don Atiliano and Donna Carmen, and their family, in front of their home in Rio Chico, with my beloved mom and dad-in-law! Oh how good is God, to us!
“You have as much laughter as you have faith!” – Martin Luther, via Ann Voskamp in her book, The Broken Way.
“What could you create today with a gentle heart of love? (a letter? a treat? a surprise?) Create something out of your love.” – Ann Voskamp in her book, The Greatest Gift.
Every afternoon a call of “A la mesa!” rings out and echoes around at five o clock. All forty-some children, and about five adults gather around plain long wooden tables, set with faded plastic “Sleeping Beauty” placemats and a plastic cup of hot sweet tea and one “pancito” (a small Bolivian bread roll). Nobody starts in on their food and drink. An adult designates two kids to lead in prayer one after the other. The children’s prayers usually run along the lines of ” Thank you for Auntie ______, Auntie________ and Auntie ________, and please help nobody to have an accident, and thank you for the Program and for the food and, God, please help and give food and clothing to all the poor people out there in the city. Amen.” These children don’t think of themselves as poor! I love to hear them pray. Often, their prayers contain special little pleas for safety and protection for themselves and for each other, and VERY often they pray for themselves and their friends (all there – they act like brothers and sisters with each other) to not be hungry. They DO experience hunger, and rather frequently.
“God has filled the world with all manner of delights.” – author unknown peonies in Pike Market, Seattle