Friday, October 26, 2007

I'm a leavin' on a jet plane

The time has finally come! My bags are packed (and nicely underweight), all of the goodbyes have been said, and prayers and words of encouragement have been given. Like never before in my life, I feel truly loved. I will miss all of these friends and family at home more then I can ever express. As soon as I am able I will update this blog with new information and answers to some of the questions you (and I) have about Bolivia. There of course will be pictures as well.

My flights are as follows: I leave from O'Hare @ 6:15pm and fly to Miami. I have less then an hour layover at Miami and then fly directly to La Paz, Bolivia. La Paz is just a stop over and then I land in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. In Santa Cruz I change airlines and then fly once more into Cochabamba, Bolivia, arriving at about 2pm on Saturday. I'm flying American Airlines all the way to Bolivia.

As always, thank you for your prayers during this time of transition. Please pray specifically for safety in travel, adjustment to culture and my new team. I'll update as soon as I can!

Friday, October 12, 2007

El Fin!

At times I wondered if it was ever going to end, but at last, training is finally finished. I am looking back on these last 5 weeks and I am absolutely amazed at how much I've learned, how much I've grown, and how many amazing people I have met. I have so many inside jokes from these training weeks and now I'm not with any of the people who understand them! That is so sad to me.

I am currently still at International Teams. Tomorrow is an event that they call The One Day Immersion. And its a time that people come in from all over the country to learn more about International Teams and where we serve and how we serve. There are about 70 people registered to be here tomorrow. I decided to stay (everyone else from training have already left) because I started out this whole process by attending a One Day Immersion. That was about a year and a half ago. I now I am in my last two week before I leave and I wanted to finish training where all of this started for me. It is always encouraging to be with others that are missions minded and actively pursuing missions. One Day is just the first step. Not all who come will end up serving with IT, and some, like me, will. I wanted to be here as an encouragement to them and to see the next wave of missionaries. Its an awesome sight for sure. I will be headed home after that and I'll be back at my home church for Sunday service.

As of today, I have 14 days left before I leave for Bolivia. Actually, exactly 2 weeks from now I will be on a plane :)

The last part of training was by far the hardest. And this last week the hardest of all. Don't get me wrong, its all very good information to have but I really struggled with the phonics end of it. And now it is over! Yay! These next two weeks are already quite full of various appointments, going away parties, and other last minute details. Guess what folks, its finally time to go!

Thursday, October 4, 2007


The official summary from the syllabus for the Second Language Acquisition course is as follows:

"The goal of this course is to equip each individual participant to maximize her/his language learning potential. The course focuses on how to make decisions and structure your learning in order to acquire your new language as effectively, as efficiently, and as enjoyably as possible. You will also begin to acquire key skills that are essential for successful language learning."

If that sounds like a mouth full trying taking the course! We are the most ridiculous sounding group of people you've ever heard. We sound like monkeys most of the time! But honestly, it is the only way to break down vowel sounds so we can hear the differences accurately. Consonants too! Ever hear of a phonic alphabet? Yep, I'm learning how to write phonically too (for example: writing a different symbol for the first 'p' in pepto then the second 'p' in the same word). So I am getting quite the education on not only understanding the mechanics behind the words I naturally say in English but preparing for new sounds that I'll be learning when I start taking Spanish in Bolivia.

And actually that has already begun. We have 2 language helpers that come in for an hour a day and we ask them a lot of questions regarding vocabulary and pronunciation and then "act out" the conversation as if it we were really having it in our future countries. We tape record those sessions and then study them during the evening. Homework is a daily event (and oftentimes so are headaches!) and mental exhaustion takes over if your not careful. I've found that a good brisk walk directly after class helps a lot.

So will this two week course help me when I get to Bolivia? Absolutely! Do I wish it was already done with? Absolutely! But as it is, we still have another 6 days of this class.

This weekend I am hoping to get my formal monthly update newsletter written and emailed out as not everyone will be reading updates via blog. It should have a new picture or two as well. So watch for it :)