Man, these last couple of days have been busy! I had planned on posting this story/update a couple of days ago, but just didn't have the time, so here it is now.
On Thursdays, we have a Bible study at the house led by Tito. It is attended by Almost all of mi familia and the parents of one of the girls in my class, who also attend the church. Usually, we read a passage and then Tito gives a lesson. We also spend some time in worship and prayer together. It's great.
A couple weeks ago, we had to memorize a Bible verse, Psalms 100:2. "Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing!" But in Spanish, so "Servid Jehova con alegria! Venid ante su presencia con regocijo!" When it came to my turn to recite it, I did so in English, even though I was almost sure I could say it in Spanish. As soon as I was finished, Dona Elsa says, "Y en Espanol?" So I stumbled my way through the verse, with a little help on the last word, which was not previously a part of my Spanish vocabulary.
This past Thursday, things got shaken up. We read 10 verses, but each person had to read one aloud. I borrowed Linsay's Bible to read Ephesians 2:7 "so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." When I had done the math and read it in English, I got a knot in my stomach at the words "immeasurable riches," knowing there would be a couple of difficult new words there. And sure enough, "las abundantes riquezas" showed up. With help, I stumbled through them, and thought it was over.
It was not over. Instead of just Tito sharing thoughts on the whole passage, each person was then going to share some thoughts on the verse they had read. There was no pressure to share super deep truths, but I still felt some dread, knowing I would be expected to share in Spanish in a group setting. So, I read through my verse a couple more times in English and decided on what I could share in Spanish. I wrote down exactly what I wanted to say, and only had to fill in "las abundantes requiezas."
After I reread the verse in Spanish (once again completely butchering those two words), Tito offered to have Lindsay translate, but I wasn't about to take the easy way out, and read off what I had written down: "Dios tiene abundantes riquezas. Si estamos somos en Cristo, podemos tener todos los cosas de Dios, su poder, su amor, y su gracia." The resulting "amens" told me that I had not only spoken a great truth, but was also understood.
Although I still felt nervous for having to have spoken in Spanish in a group setting with other adults, I also felt a surge of pride and knowledge that I CAN do this. I have been talking some more with Tito and Cesia, which is good for me, and Hellen at school frequently tells me I need to speak more in Spanish.
It's just a strange feeling to open your mouth to communicate and have no words, but I'm slowly getting better. The shyness I had as a child returned to me full strength, but it is beginning to dissipate as I realize that they don't care when I mess up words as I verbally trip and stumble and occasionally fall. Someday, I'll look back and laugh at this time when I struggled with speaking. But for now, I'll continue to struggle through it and just do the best I can.
Although, I'll probably still conveniently forget everything when people come knocking with the intent of getting me saved by false religions. There was a lot of laughing about that at school on Friday as someone has apparently dropped of "Watchtower" brochures in English at the school, and the story of my adventure with them was retold.