Wednesday, July 1, 2015

E-mail: June 29, 2015 "Speaking Proper English I'm Not Anymore"

Well it's officially happened, my English has been broken.

One of the challenges with teaching people in a country where English is a second, third, fourth, or sometimes even fifth language is that regardless of how well you annunciation or how slow you speak, very few people will understand what you're trying to say. The solution? You learn how to speak English the way they do. A typical lesson for someone who doesn't know much English could go something like this-

"Joseph Smith is having one doubt. Wanting to know, which church is true. He's looking for answer from Bible. Yakobu (James) is telling if you have doubt you should ask God. Joseph Smith is going into one forest and praying. God and Jesus Christ come and tell don't join any church, because no church is true.'

That kind of language, coupled with Indian tones and pronunciation, make it possible for many of our investigators to understand the basics of our message when we teach. The problem is that when you speak like that all the time your brain gets used to it. Yesterday in sacrament meeting there were several visiting Americans in the congregation, and as I stood to give my talk I tried to speak so that they could also understand, but try as I might my American English wouldn't come. My companion's words to me after the meeting were-

"Wow, I don't think the Americans sitting behind me could understand anything you said."
"Dang it. What about the Indian members?"
"Oh yeah, to them it was fine."

Oh well, at least I'm good at speaking to the people I'm here to teach. After I come home though, it may be best if you give me a month or two before you talk to me face to face, because I doubt we'll understand each other.

This week we visited one of our investigators who hasn't been coming to church. When we asked her why, she said that she has exams coming up and she has to study. As we pressed her and tried to explain how if she came to church God would help her with her exams, we also learned that she's goes to school from morning till evening six days a week and Sunday is the only day she has to study and do her housework. Furthermore she lives two and a half hours away and has to take an auto, then a train, then a bus to get to church, which leaves her almost no time for anything else on Sunday. As we listened to her, I couldn't bring myself to ask her to come to church again knowing how stressed she was and how real her situation is. That was my mistake. I had forgotten that more than just coming to church on Sunday, Heavenly Father has commanded us to keep the Sabbath day holy and has given us that day because He knows we need the rest. The next time we visited with her the member we brought with us bore powerful testimony of the importance of the Sabbath and committed her to come to church. The miraculous part? She came. All two and half hours to and from by auto, train and bus.

Excuse me, but your excuse for breaking the Sabbath is invalid.

I've known many church members (especially teens) who justify working on Sunday or not coming to church. "My job won't won't give me time off." "I was up too late last night." "I'm saving money for a mission so I have to work." "I have to study for my super-duper important exam." etc. I'm going to share with you what I learned this week, which is that God expects us to have enough faith in Him to keep this commandment regardless of our circumstances. My challenge to you this week is that if you're not keeping this commandment the way you should be, fix it. If you do, The Lord will provide. He always has, and He always will. I testify of that.

Anyways until next week, ya'll take care. :)
-Elder Flower

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