Language Learning

There’s a quote, often attributed to Francis of Assisi, that I find questionable – “Preach the gospel always; when necessary, use words.” The implication is that your lifestyle is sufficient to share the good news, and verbal communication is only a supplement. I’ve always thought that deeds and words are like your two arms or two legs. Both are important and you will not be effective with just one.

The truth of that came home in our language orientation. The missionary shared that “presence in an environment conducive to language study does not automatically result in language mastery! You have to do something to learn another language; you can’t just lean back and absorb it.” In our evangelism context, presence or lifestyle alone does not automatically result in communicating the gospel, you have to use words. Or to look at it from the recipient perspective, going to church every Sunday does not mean you will automatically become a Christian. You have to embrace the message for yourself.

Many believe that immersion is the best method which guarantees that the learner will master the language. Immersion is helpful because it forces you to swim or sink, but it’s no guarantee as some give up and “drown”. We learned five steps which will help us to keep learning and progressing (quoted from SEND notes for language learners):

Decide what to learn for the day.
Prepare the desired conversation in the target language.
Practice speaking and listening until you can express it fluently and understand likely responses to it with ease.
Communicate the learned message to other native speakers.
Evaluate your progress by discussing with your mentor, modifying the phrases if necessary and practice as needed.

Repeat the above again and again and again until it becomes second nature to you and the words flow automatically. Practice makes perfect. This is true in sports, language, and evangelism.

Our language school is located within this church`s property.

Our language school is located within this church`s property.

Taichung Language Center in basement

Taichung Language Center in basement

Waiting for our class to start

Waiting for our class to start

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