Wow. 50 posts. It seems like a lot, but if I kept up with my blog as much as I probably should, it would be a lot more. :) Ah, well.
So, every Thursday, we have Bible study here at the house. It's a great time of worship and fellowship, and Tito shares a message. At the beginning, a different person each time shares a small passage of Scripture with the group. Tito just elects a random person the week before to do it, and there's not a lot of pressure to prepare anything super in depth or anything.
Last week, they decided that I should share a verse. I had been feeling good that night since when we read out loud, I had gotten verses with short words and didn't trip and fall over all the words. I shrugged and agreed to share a verse. It was something I had been thinking about volunteering for anyway.
But then I got really nervous when I thought about how I would be expected to read verses out loud. So, once I picked out the passage I wanted to share, James 1:19-27, I started practicing it. Almost every day since last Friday, I have been practicing reading this passage aloud in Spanish. There are some tough words in there, too! Some days, I read it 2-3 times aloud to myself.
It was almost painful sometimes to read because I went so slow and couldn't wrap my tongue around some of the words. Today, I practiced it again in the afternoon, then took a nap. I dreamed I was saying it, and as I half-woke up, I realized I had parts of it memorized already from saying it so much.
Around 6pm, Tito and Cesia asked me to do a drawing of Tinkerbell for something. It had something to do with Tito's sister and that's about all I got. So, for an hour before Bible study started, I was drawing a picture of Tinkerbell from a coloring book onto a poster board-sized paper while I listened to worship music. It was surprisingly relaxing, and I'm realizing now that it was just what I needed to take my mind off of the fear.
When we did go down for Bible study, I read it one more time, mouthing the words quietly to myself while the others made small talk before we started. I felt confident then, despite the churning in my stomach, and forced myself to relax. All I was doing was reading less than 10 verses, and they all knew how bad my Spanish was, so they weren't about to judge me even if I did mess up. And it's not about me, anyway.
I had to start, and confidently directed them to the passage. The wait until everyone got there was slightly agonizing, but important to be sure they understood as I read. I read deliberately slowly, even with the words that I knew, so I wouldn't get tripped up and so it would sound more natural when I had to read slowly through the bigger words. When I was done, they discussed the importance of having a pure religion, and then we prayed and started worship.
And that was it.
How silly of me to have been so worried about something so small! I do hope to be able to share again, where I will probably do just as much preparation, but only so that I can be sure I get it right, not so much out of fear. My passage actually ended up tying into the message that Cesia shared, about how we are the salt and the light of the earth, and the importance of works in showing others the Gospel.
As rough as these things are for me, it's good for me to practice my Spanish, and helps me build my confidence. Although I can understand quite a bit, it's still hard to form sentences when a reply is required, mostly because I'm not good with tenses. But, I'll get there eventually. :)