Some people wonder what happens when you’re a missionary. What sorts of magical things do you get into every day? What sort of adventures and excitement await you around every corner?!
Well, there is excitement and adventure, but there’s also boredom, loneliness, frustration and then just every day plain old routine and doing what needs to be done! The cool thing that I continually have to remember is that God is here in all of it… in the cool stuff and in the boring, normal stuff too.
Right now my days generally consist of going to language school in the mornings in Antigua and working at the academy in the afternoons.
Antigua is a very popular town and has several options for language schools. The one I go to is called Maximo Nivel (means something like ‘the highest level’ en espanol). Check them out here: https://maximonivel.com/spanish/guatemala/. The staff is great and super friendly. They have people in their office who remember my name overtime I come in… that makes a big impression on a gringo who can’t remember much Spanish, let alone someone’s name! They are very flexible and work around my schedule so I can easily come to class in the mornings with a private tutor. The teachers are very fun and patient. I’m so thankful to have someone who I can fumble and mispronounce words with who will keep me going and encourage me in the process.
That may seem small or even insignificant, but when you’re in a foreign country, learning a brand new language, trying to figure out a totally different culture, the patience, laughter, and kindness of new friends can sometimes save your sanity! It’s a big victory for me right now when I can correctly remember the right verb tense to use in a conversation and then remember what verb I want to use with it!
The school also has a fantastic courtyard that’s becoming my new getaway to study or just chill out and read when I need a change of pace. And the one of the best things about this place (there are many) is that they have free coffee all day long. That’s right, I can show up for class or just stop by when I’m in town and grab coffee… talk about the blessing of the Lord! And you know it’s good because it’s authentic Guatemalan coffee so there’s no messing around.
At the academy, I’m helping out in the classroom with the boys and with some aspects of the training that they do, mainly weight training. One of the subjects they’re required to teach in Guatemalan schools is English, but it’s still very difficult to learn and focus on well in this environment. So, for someone learning a new language, I understand a little bit of what they’re going through learning English. Talking and working with the boys is another way that I’m immersed. You can never completely connect with someone without talking to them. Translators can’t really do it and google translate can only get you so far. Learning a new language by immersion is the way to go! These kids are some of my best teachers. They teach me what to say. They love to tell me when i’m saying something incorrectly. And they help me learn new things every day.
I’m more productive, thriving and focused when I have a routine. I’m getting into a good routine here in Guatemala and I’m digging in to learn and grow little by little every day!