Well, I've finished with Spanish language school. It's a strange feeling being "done." I haven't really studied Spanish since I finished my minor in undergrad., so I've been looking forward to brushing up for a long time. It's come and gone, and I can hardly believe it. With three weeks of budgeted schooling left, I decided that I would be better off to study at home what I'd learned and let the rest of the field workers have an extra week of class. So my week off has been one spent at home reviewing and trying to establish a self-disciplined schedule.
So, what's next? We have fairly well established ourselves. Formal language training is drawing to a close, private (read: more economical) tutoring notwithstanding. And we've got an itch to be...productive. I know, I know, language training is as important a part of the process as anything else. But that doesn't scratch the itch. Unfortunately, it does us no good to rush any part of acculturation. We are forming some great relationships, which is important at this point as well, and we will walk through whatever doors God opens. In the mean time, however, there are still a number of “to-do’s” scribbled on our proverbial whiteboard.
There is a good deal of non-experiential cultural learning yet to be done that is slated for this period of the strategy. That is, we've got some reading and processing to do on the history of the country, its social and political situation, its formative literature and artistic expression, its ethos and pathos. Don't worry, this doesn't amount to visiting museums and reading tourist guidebooks. It's the exciting work of trudging through historical and sociological analyses, with the added benefit of reading some Peruvian and Latin American classics. (By the way, any preacher worth his salt has done and is doing the same for your American context. In
war they say, "Know your enemy." In ministry they say, "Know your neighbor." Or at least I do.)
Also on the near horizon is our relocation to a less affluent neighborhood, so to speak. We've got another four months or so on our current leases, which gives us enough time to check out prospective neighborhoods and make a decision, scour the papers in search of rental possibilities for housing for each family and a team office, and get the office furnished and set up. The office will function initially as the base of operations for our research projects, which are preliminary to the launch of the developmental projects. We’ll also be acquiring a team vehicle and international driver’s licenses and learning to drive amidst the madness.
We've got a number of guests coming in the summer (U.S. summer), including a group from Harding University led by our team mentor Bill Richardson. They will be helping us with a week of intensive research on one of our ministry points. We've also got a prospective intern for the summer and a prospective apprentice looking to do 2 years with us. All that, of course, takes significant planning, which we are already working on.
Hopefully between now and March we will get our long-term visas worked out, which will entail an extended trip to Lima, our favorite place on earth (dreary and dirty). Aside from the usual team business stuff, we ourselves are working through the course of Bible study planned for new Christians, and we are practicing songs in Spanish. I'm sure I've forgotten a few things, but that is the essence of our humdrum missionary existence for now. I can tell you it would be gratifying to get to the church growth and fruitfulness part, but I don't suppose it's about being gratified.
God be praised.