Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Some Praises to Share

Hi friends! We wanted to share a few praises with you:

Last night, Fernando led a story fellowship group (telling an oral Bible story with questions and dicussion) in a nearby Garífuna community, and a woman accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior! Thank you for praying for the OneStory project.

Alex and Wilber, who work full-time with Fernando, both found out this week that they have been accepted into college programs. Wilber received a scholarship for a one-year program that covers administrative and computer skills in the same university where Fernando completed his MBA program. This will give him solid preparation for future studies and jobs. Alex will be studying a four-year eco-tourism degree in one of the main Honduran universities. We praise God for providing them with the opportunity to study and still continue working on ministry projects with Fernando. We are proud of them, too. Thank you for praying for them!

I'll post soon about activities and prayer requests for this next month. Thank you for standing with us in prayer!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Memorizing Scripture: Why? How?

Almost two years ago I sat across a fast food restaurant table from a high school girl who had tears running down her cheeks. She was dealing with grief, rejection, and weighty burdens I have never experienced. It was one of those moments where I knew none of my words would do much good, and I really wanted to share a few Bible verses that could speak into her current situation.

I realized that, although I could paraphrase verses (more easily in English than Spanish) or locate them in my Bible, I felt the conviction that I needed to be intentional about memorizing Scripture – a spiritual discipline I simply hadn’t focused on in the past few years. I wanted to have a mental index of verses according to topics and doctrines that I could, by the Spirit’s leading, turn to in a given situation. As I had conversations with other girls about different circumstances, I was reminded I needed to begin, but I needed a good system to keep me motivated and diligent.

In fall of 2012, I found this great list of verses by topic, and this website helped me figure out a system:
  • Mondays/Thursdays: memorize a new verse, reading it aloud ten times and then repeating it ten times, looking only when needed.
  • Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Fridays/Saturdays: review previous verses once each and repeat the newest verse ten times (twelve verses total).
  • Sundays: review all verses from the beginning, once each.
Over time, I added new verses more frequently, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

I finally completed the whole list! There were times I had to put it to the side (moving back to Honduras, having our baby, etc.), but I thank God for helping me stick with it and reach the goal. I have found this mental list of verses helpful when studying the Bible with people, sending someone a note, keeping my mind calm before going into the operating room (twice by now!), meditating on truth before falling asleep, and more.

Now I'm eager to memorize more. The BILD discipleship program has questions and discussions designed around biblical texts that are foundational to our faith, and I plan to focus on these passages next. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will use the Word to renew my mind, change my heart, and speak truth and hope into others’ lives as He leads.

I wanted to share this with those who might feel overwhelmed by the idea of memorizing Scripture, in case some of this information is helpful and encouraging. However you make it work for you, it's more than worth it! Feel free to share your own strategies, challenges, or ideas about Scripture memory in the comment section below.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It Happens Once a Year...

Every July Garífuna Christians come together for four days to worship, fellowship, and hear from God's Word all in their language. This year they met in a rural community near where Fernando is from.

Fernando enjoyed reconnecting with pastors and fellow believers not only from communities in Honduras, but also from Guatemala, Belize, and the U.S. It was encouraging for everyone to share about what the Lord is doing among Garífuna people in those places. About 500 people attended!

Fernando shared a message about how unity is an essential element to expanding the gospel, and he also served on the team that plans and carries out the details of the event. He took Alex and Wilber, who work with him full-time on ministry projects, and it was the first time they participated.

Praise the Lord for those who received Jesus as their Lord and Savior in response to an open-air meeting with the aim of evangelism, and also for how He strengthened His people as they met together.

Unfortunately, I charged the camera battery and forgot to put it in the camera when I gave it to Fernando to take with him (I discovered the lone battery shortly after he left...). This is a picture from two years ago:

Next year we should be able to share pictures with you, but we at least wanted to share these praises with you.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Newsletter

You can read our latest newsletter here. You can subscribe to our newsletters here. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Beautiful Sounds

Recently I had the chance to combine several of my favorite things: phonetics (the study of the sounds of languages) + Garífuna language + teaching. The OneStory workshop we have helped with includes a one-week module about language learning. The facilitator offered the course in English to a missionary family who feel called to serve in Garífuna communities and would like to learn the language. The following week, the same material was offered in Spanish to the OneStory participants, who will spend the next few weeks in a Garífuna community to apply what they learned about language learning.

I was invited to share about sounds of the Garífuna language. Here is a little snapshot for those who might find it interesting:

These are the consonants in Garífuna that sound like English sounds:

b as in 'boy'
ch as in 'child'
d as in 'dog'
f as in 'fun'
g as in 'girl'
h as in 'hand'
m as in 'man'
n as in 'nap' (one of my favorite words these days, as some of you might understand)
s as in 'sun'
w as in 'win'
y as in 'yes'

These consonants sound more like Spanish:

k as in 'coco' ('coconut'): it's a softer, unaspirated 'k'
l as in 'lata' ('can'): it's a lighter-sounding 'l' in which only the tip of the tongue is used, unlike the English sound of 'dull' where the back of the tongue is also raised
p as in 'poco' ('a little'): softer, unaspirated, like 'k'
r as in 'pero' ('but'), but never 'rr' as in 'perro' ('dog')
t as in 'taco': softer, unaspirated, like 'k' and 'p'

This consonant is not found in either English or Spanish: ñ. It is like a blend of the English 'y' and Spanish 'ñ'; it's like saying a nasalized 'y' or saying the Spanish 'ñ' without letting the top of your tongue touch the hard palate.

These vowels are like Spanish: a, e, i, o, u. A sixth vowel, ü, is unlike either English or Spanish. It is like trying to say 'ooooo' (or the Spanish 'u') with a smile instead of rounded lips. Any of these six vowels can be nasalized or lengthened. This six-vowel system with lengthening and nasalization is common in Amerindian languages.

As for prosodic features (musical characteristics), syllable stress is important for differentiating meaning. For example: 'agüragua' (first syllable stressed) means 'to bite' and 'agüragua' (second syllable stressed) means 'to tie up.' Also, intonation tends to be falling, or descending, even with questions.

While phonetics may be fun for some of us, the goal of linguistics and language learning is to communicate in the heart language of people for the Lord's work. If you think of it, pray for this missionary family, for the OneStory participants, and also for me to push on in language learning and remember why it is important. Thank you, and if you have questions you can post them in the comment section below!