School's in Session for Phyllis
As many of you know, Chile is a Spanish speaking country. Because Brian and I serve in an English setting, we have limped our way through the language outside of the school/ministry context. We can survive with Google Translate and broken Spanish on our part to communicate when we have to. Well? Before baby boy Hovey arrives on the scene, we concluded that it would be good for me (Phyllis) to get some continuing education credits done for my MN Teaching License and also improve my Spanish skills......so? School is in session!
I have been attending Tandem Santiago, Escuela de Idiomas (School of Lanuages), for the past three weeks. The school building was formerly a home that they transformed into a learning institution. Here is a glimpse of what it looks like from the outside....
The school sign out front....
It is a highly decorated institution that has won awards for excellence since 2003 and possibly before.....I'm not quite sure if that's when the school started receiving awards or if that's all the awards that would fit on the wall......it's hard to tell. Either way, it is a credible institution.
Here is a glimpse of one of my classrooms....depending on the class size (no more than 8 usually), the rooms grow or diminish slightly in capacity.
Because of privacy courtesy, I will not post pics of my peers. I WILL, however, share what a delight and growing experience it has been to interact with them and my professors! I have learned a LOT in the past few weeks......not only about Spanish but about life, learning, different parts of the world and different people of the world too! In the first group I was in, there were 8 different countries represented--Germany, Holland, Norway, Switzerland, France, Russia, Brazil, and the United States. My instructor was Chilean, so I guess that racks it up to NINE!!!! We all come from different walks of life---different ages, stages, professions, but we all have the common goal of desiring to learn Spanish better.
While I am there to learn, I am also there to share Christ. The life of a Servant of the Lord is not limited to a "ministry" setting. In other words, I don't have to be in church or teaching the Bible to live out my faith. It transcends into daily life as well! I have gotten MANY opportunities to share snippets about what I believe, why I choose to live the lifestyle I do, and build relationships cross culturally.....what a privilege! It has also given me the chance to practice sharing my beliefs in Spanish. I will be the first to confess that I botch the vocabulary frequently or conjugate the verb incorrectly, but I am so thankful for the possibility to learn and share!
One of the most challenging conversations I've had was with a group of very well educated women over lunch. There was a lawyer, a physicist, and other very highly intellectuals present......but ya know what? They didn't have Christ. Over the course of lunch---careers, kids, families, and how that all works came up in conversation. Because these women were smart and had spent lots of time and investment into their careers and education, they were sharing how they couldn't conceive giving all that up to raise a family. When I was asked what I thought of it all, I prayed silently and began....
Careers are a great way to impact the world. I won't negate that. However, there IS another way to have a great impact and it starts in the home. I don't see my baby as a hindrance to my career or a hiccup in my plans. In fact, he will give me the greatest opportunity for impact that I will ever have--I will get to have an effect on what the next generation of people through my son. It's all a matter of perspective...I can look at what I'm losing and what I will have to give up, but I prefer to look at what I'm gaining and the new possibilities and challenges that await me!!!
I wasn't that eloquent on the spot, but it really forced me to look at my motives and rational behind staying home with our son for some time. It didn't build me favor in my colleagues eyes, but it DID afford me with conviction and articulate communication about why I'm choosing this road......I wanted to share with our readers too because there will be days I forget that parenting IS a calling, a privilege, and it makes a difference. Help me remember when I lose sight of my God-given role as a mom!!!!