So not speaking Spanish was a huge disadvantage for our ministry. That's what we thought at first. But then we started to see some unexpected benefits to our language deficiency.
- We had to find other ways to express ourselves. Often that involved hilarious hand gestures that confused more than they helped. But when students greeting us with friendly waves and giving us hugs after church, we knew that we'd somehow been able to demonstrate our love for them.
- We learned to laugh at ourselves. You can't really take yourself too seriously when you're likely to tell someone they're a good horse when you meant to compliment their friendliness.
- We let others laugh at us. Nothing ingratiates a person into the world of teenagers like letting them double over in laughter at your expense and chuckling right along with them.
- We let ourselves be taught. Our kids loved having something that they could teach us. They were the experts and we were their favorite students.
- We were at our students' mercy. And they knew it. Sure we were taken advantage of sometimes. But putting ourselves in such a vulnerable position helped foster a true connectedness we might not have been able to develop otherwise. We weren't perfect--we had weaknesses just like them.
- We had to study. Honduran students aren't really taught good study habits and skills (at least not until they come to El Sembrador). Seeing us with our notebooks and study notes and giving them the opportunity to critique our work was a great way to demonstrate our commitment to learning and teach some valuable skills at the same time.