Sunday was a special day for me. Before we get to the details of Sunday, let me give you a little background.
We landed in Argentina on March 25, 2016. We started language school in June. We practice the language every day. We are growing in the language. I have given the offering devotion some 25 or more times (a 2-3 minute reading and explanation of a Bible verse that pertains to giving). I’ve wanted to teach and preach the Bible in Spanish for some time, but I didn’t know if I was ready. I asked Pastor Jorge if I could try some time. He told me to tell him when I think I am ready. I finally told him I was ready (although I had serious doubts I was). He told me that I would preach/teach for 10 minutes minimum. He gave me a date. I was very apprehensive. I just didn’t think I was ready.
The day finally came. It was Sunday. Pastor Jorge reiterated that he wanted me to preach for 10 minutes minimum, and to go longer if I could. I was just hoping to go 10 minutes. I really didn’t think I was ready. Even so, Sunday night I preached in Spanish for the first time. The message was 27 minutes, which was pretty surprising to everyone!
This was a huge goal for me! I am very thankful to the Lord for this! Here are a few observations from my first message in Spanish…
- I have a long way to go! The message was full of grammatical errors, I caught a few of them but most of them I did not.
- Learning grammatical rules and applying said rules are two completely different things. I have learned this in my daily practice of the language. I have learned how to say something, and know it as a fact in my mind, but my mouth does not say it the way I have learned it. I understand this to be very common and that practice and time will correct these sorts of things.
- This is not the finish line in my language studies, but it is a great “mile marker”. Even though it was very far from adequate, it still is a “victory”. I could not have done this 5 months ago! I am growing in the language and as I continue to practice in the language, the errors will decrease, and I will become more comfortable in speaking.
All in all, it was a great day. The people at Iglesia Bautista El Faro (Lighthouse Baptist Church) were very kind and supportive of me. I think many of them looked beyond some of the grammatical errors, because they saw a foreigner really trying. The great news is this was my first attempt and certainly not my last. As the Lord allows, I am scheduled to preach again on September 25, 2016 for the morning service. Now it is time to get nervous again!