Linguistic Observations

Last summer I spent two months in British Columbia with linguists-in-training from all over the world. As you might guess, we spent lots of time talking about accents. For example, Canadians say process with the pro sounding like the way I say professional. My friend from Oregon would never have said the name of her state as Ore-gone, the way I grew up saying it.

Coming from Wisconsin, I never thought I had an accent. Midwest dialect isn’t far from standard in some ways, but as a linguist I’ve learned that everyone has an accent. Just the way I say Wisconsin makes mine pretty easy to identify. Over the last semester I became really interested in differences in speech based on social and geographical positions. Yesterday I got to interact with a speaker from my own state, and I loved her accent!

Some of my favorite moments:

Speaking about her son: “He bought that gosh darn evolution when he went to college, an’ nat was the end a that.”

Buying eggs: “Them are the organtic (organic) kind”

Fixing a vacuum: “Ner we go, now that’s flesh (flush) with da thing.”

I couldn’t peg her speech at all. Do most women from my town who have lived here all their lives have an accent like hers? Times like those make me want to do my own research. I’m ready to graduate and get to work!


Can- IL

Ok, so I'm here. Why haven't I written yet? Because I have been BUSY! I can hardly believe that I've been here for less than a week. I have a test almost every day for the rest of my three week class that began on Monday. My brain is feeling slightly fried, and I'm actually hoping that getting a few thoughts down would help me 'relax'.

First, I have to say that everyone here is amazing. We are all together for many hours each day, so although I'm sure that by the end of nine weeks we will have some issues, it is so nice to be with other believers who have such a similar vision. I have had great times in the word, in prayer, and in... contemplation with so many sweet people.

I don't know what else to say, but hopefully i'll have more to share soon.

p.s. God is teachine me so much about treasuring Him above all else. JP gets me so on fire. woo hoo.


Dolor y esperanza

Como pienso que nadie lee este blog excepto que yo- y como necesito como nada practicar mi español- voy a escribir éste en castellano. Este fin de semana tenía la oportunidad de hablar con uno de mis amigos que recién fue a Bolivia por poco tiempo más que yo y con propósito similar. Era una charla buenísima. La cosa es que después de hablar por tanto tiempo de Bolivia y escuchar tantos cosas de allí, quiero visitar otra vez. Tengo que orar que si Dios no me quiere allí que toque mi corazón con propósito diferente.

Es asombroso cómo Dios usa los personas que van por allí por Su gloria. Noté que mi amigo ayudó mucho con la tarea en el hogar Talita Cumi, y con su presencia en Cristo Viene niños, y es obvio que la gente allí será impactada por su visita. Me anima que Dios sea glorificado a través de sus siervos débiles- porque estos somos.
Mi corazón está lleno de deseos de ver el evangelio predicado tras el mundo, y quiero que Dios sea alabado en cada lengua, nación, y pueblo. Señor, úseme.


Feeling busy

I so often get this feeling that if my planner isn't sufficiently filled with activities to keep me busy for most of the day I'm not doing good enough. This past semester was filled with that feeling. I had two jobs, neither of which ended up giving me half as many hours as I was expecting, and I took 17 credits, which was smallest load since my freshman year. I had free time, and I was justifiably upset with myself that too much of that time was spent watching episodes of Boy Meets World on Youtube or thinking about the things I should be doing.

This lack of activity isn't all bad, though. I opened myself to so many new oportunities and experiences. I got involved in the Spanish-speaking church plant that Bethlehem is doing, which was great for my Spanish and began a few new relationships. I got to spend more time with girls on my hall doing crazy stuff. I volunteered in an adult ESL class once a week, and I ended up loving it. In the ESL class I tutored the same Taiwanese girl, Lesley, almost every week. Because this class is through my church, there are lots of opportunities to share the gospel, and I did get to share with her exactly what I believed a few times. It's crazy that I got so upset about not making money and getting as many classes as possible in my schedule, when God was using me to accomplish His will in a different way than I had planned. I am definitely learning to be more open to what He has for me. His plans are perfect.



I realize that this post is long overdue, and I am guilty of wanting to write in here but not wanting to take the time to do it.
I am the prayer coordinator for our missions fellowship on campus next year. Me. The prayer coordinator. I feel so inadequate. I have been struggling with these feelings since last Thursday when I met with the prayer coordinator from last year and just realized how much God has gifted her in prayer. I don't have those same gifts. Prayer for me is a spiritual discipline that often is just that- something I discipline myself to do.
Don't get me wrong, I like praying, and I love that the God who created me wants to hear from me and cares about what I have to say and responds when I cry out to Him in accordance with His Word. It's just that I am weak. I am so easily distracted in my praying. I find a quiet place, begin to seek God, and next week's schedule pops into my head. I realize a wonderful thing God has done, begin to praise Him, and I start running my accomplishments through my mind. I start to intercede for a friend, and my last conversation with that friends starts to worry me, or make me happy, or just DISTRACT me.
I am confident that if God has placed me in this position for next year, He will use me. I'm not sure if I'm taking this verse a little out of context when I say that my situation is like in Romans 8:26, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." In my weakness of praying God will intercede when I cannot. Anyway, I do know that He will use me even though I am unworthy. I look forward to all I will learn about prayer, but I am still pretty scared. I guess I just don't even know what to do or think. What a wonderful way to end.



I have a new favorite song. My favorite song is known to change weekly, but this one is really good, so I had to share it. I just love thinking about the words, and I like the song itself too. I've liked Matt Wertz's stuff for a long time, and I'm so glad he keeps making good music even though he still hasn't made it big.

I will not take my love away
When praises cease and seasons change
while the whole world turns the other way
I will not take my love away
I will not leave you all alone
When striving leads you far from home
And there's no yield for what you've sown
I will not leave you all alone
I will give you what you need
In plenty or in poverty
Forever, always, look to me
And I will give you what you need
I will not take my love away

John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one."


The Weak and Fatherless

Psalm 82:3-4 Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

Lately I have often made Asaph's cry to God my own as I see the hurt that is going on in this world. My eyes have been opened through movies like Trade, Australia, and Boy in the Striped Pajamas. They've also been opened through my personal experiences-- seeing abuse marks on the cutest little kids in Bolivia, talking with my campers this summer, and working with the homeless here in Minneapolis. My own heart hurts when I see the hurts of others.

I have been realizing that I can't live my life they way much of the world does, turning a blind eye to all that goes on. It's not that I can't ever be happy or that I have to deprive myself of every good thing, but I want to remember every day that I am very blessed to have the life that I do, and that God wants to use me to reach the poor, oppressed, weak, and fatherless. He cares for them just as He cares for me. I may be going to school now, but that doesn't mean that I need to live my life here without doing anything for those hurting around me. I need to reach out to the many hurting people in Minneapolis, in my little suburb, and even at my school. My ministry doesn't stop just because during this time in my life I am being filled and trained. I am learning to teach others, and I'm being loved to love others.

I can't cure the world of its hurt, and nothing that I do would be even worthwhile except that God has called to me to reach out to those who are hurt, and He will use me to do that as long as I allow Him to work in me and follow His leading. I have no hope of ever really seeing a world that is happy and without war or hunger, but I do have the hope that some people can be shown that they can rise above their circumstances. I do have hope that some of the injustice happening in the world can be stopped. I have hope that God's light can be shone on those who need Him, and that those who are hurting can find healing in His arms.


Amor inexplicable

This is what I feel for Spanish. A love that I can't explain. I just finished reading my story that I have to do an assignment on for next week, and I wish I could explain how it gives me happiness to know that I just read and understood a story in a different language, that I worked through the parts that I don't know, and that God has given me the privilege of loving every minute of what some people really dread.
Actually, maybe that's just what I feel for language. Tonight I'm going to go sit in on my school's Chinese class, and I'm pretty pumped for that. I know like three phrases in Chinese, and I hope to maybe learn it soonish.
Words are powerful, and God is allowing me to go to school to learn how they are used across cultures and how their intricacies have been designed, not so much intentionally by us, but to some extent innately (or by God's leading). I don't understand how it all works even, and I am blown away by it. May I glorify Him in my study.


Where does time go?

Spring break is over and I'm back at school, ready (or not so ready) to start again tomorrow. I was home for all of the break, and I got some good things done, but I also wasted a lot of time. Sure, my teeth hurt and I did need rest, but I kind of overdid the sitting on the couch thing.
As I come back to school, I'm coming back to a crazy schedule and a lot of things going on. My question is, how am I going to spend my free time? I have been praying for at least the last year that God would cause me to really hunger and thirst for Him, and I do more than I did, but my times in His precious Word have been way too shallow lately. I want to dive deep into His waters and have my thirst satiated. I want devotion to Him. I want to not be able to get enough. I realize that I contradicted myself there, but I guess what I mean is that I want to be so satisfied with God's word when I'm reading it, and then when I'm not reading it I NEED it.
May God teach me what it is to truly follow Him.



My grandma has this pretty sweet deal with her grandchildren. She is not in good health, so she can't do a lot of things on her own and needs someone around at least once every other day to get stuff done and help her out. It therefore falls upon a few of her nice grandchildren to help her, which I think for the most part we would be happy to do. My grandma, though, is so proud and stubborn that she won't let us help her for nothing, she feels offended by that and has enough money to pay for help. So, she will only let us help her if she can "gift" us money for doing so. This works out pretty nicely since it's pretty spendy for me to drive home for the weekend from school, so if I help her out once while I'm home, my gas needs are taken care of.
The problem in working for my grandma is that she's in constant pain because of her arthritis, so once in a while she gets grumpy. Today was kind of one of those days. I got chewed out for running the garbage disposal when my sister had just done it yesterday. She mis-added one of her lines in her checkbook and started crying. I was brushing her dentures and she started crying (no idea why). I went in to help out in the morning for a few hours and ended up staying well into the afternoon. There were times today when I was just frustrated with her and rolled my eyes when I turned my back.
I do lots of jobs for my grandma that aren't pleasant, and it's true that sometimes I'd rather be elsewhere, and that sometimes I can't figure her out. There's something, though, that is so nice about just loving someone who needs you. Loving them with your thoughts, actions, and words. Trying to be a reflection of the Savior that they so need. Even when it means scrubbing things I'd rather not, I'm glad God allows me to meet needs for Him in this world.


I realize that it's been over a month since my last blog, and that they've been pretty few and far between lately, but I'm realizing how much it helps me to think through things when I write in here and deciding to make my posts more frequent. I'm not sure how frequent they will be, but at least for the next week they will show up very often since I'm on spring break and I have lots of time to think.

I got my wisdom teeth out yesterday, and I look like a complete chipmunk. My face hit a new degree of swollenness a few hours ago, and nothing has changed since then.
This is actually before it got bad. :(
As I sit in my comfy bed and ice my cheeks, I think about what a wimp I am. I'm not in that much pain, and I'm trying to avoid painkillers, but about an hour ago it got to be too much for me and I succumbed to the temptation of (yet another) ibuprofen. I got my teeth out yesterday morning, and apart from one trip to my friend's house and one walk around the block, I have done nothing much but sit on the couch and watch movies.
Thinking about my complete lack of toughness makes my heart go out to those around the world who endure much more pain than I do. I think about Christians tortured for their faith. I bet some of their mouths have swollen up more than mine is, and no mommy was there to comfort them and make them yummy soup. There are many people without good dental care who, rather than getting problem teeth romoved or fixed, live much of their lives in worse pain than I am in. Or even those who have dental care may be exposed to way more bacteria than I am or have to handle tooth extraction without sedatives. I was out before they even opened my mouth!
I don't think that God brings these things to my mind so that I feel guilty about the treatment I received; I think He makes me think about it so that I have compassion on those less fortunate than I am. Rather than moving me to shame for the cost of my "extraction (I hate this word)", it should move me to action! What am I doing to make this world a better place for the least of these? Based on my aversion to any kind of mouthwork, I don't feel strongly called to a dental ministry, but what kind of attitude do I have during my job teaching Spanish to little kids? How am I spending my free time? When given any choice, do I automatically choose what's "good for me?" Am I a slave to the world or a slave to God?
May God keep me in a state of discomfort (hopefully not mouth pain, but a more emotional discomfort) so that I don't forget that I have a mission in this world, and it is not to please myself.


We Serve a Big God

I am a dirty sinner. It's so true. The ways I go against the will of my Creator, Savior, and Sustainer are horrifying. I am something that was intended to be beautiful, but through no ones fault buy my own have been ground, crushed, bruised, trampled on, and left for trash. I am hardly recognizable compared to the original image I was made in. Yet God, my Redeemer, has come, picked me up from among the rubbish, and said, "I love this one. She is mine." Hallelujah!
This week is missions week at my school, and it couldn't have come at a better time. My heart is softer now even than it was when I got back from Bolivia. Trying to fit back into the crazy world here has so broken me. I look at my planner and wonder if I can do it, and God is using that to rend me. In the midst of the way I feel helpless and hopeless, I see God's grand plan for the world; His desire for his glory to be spread to all nations. I am challenged to live a radically different life, to not buy into this world, and literally to not 'buy' the things of this world.
Looking at my time in Bolivia, I can see how God used that to bring me to this place. The orphanages sometimes barely had food for their next meal, yet the kids would be greedy and not be satisfied with the presents they got or what they already had. There was poverty alongside sin, a thought which I had known but not fully processed before. This knowledge made me open to more of what God has for us, and specifically for me. There are men, women, and children hurting in these unreached people groups, and even in the churched world. He has given me a love for certain ministries, and when I do these things, they ignite my passion for Him. Hopefully, I will continue doing these things and my love for Him will keep growing.
What ignites your love for God? What makes you want to serve Him more? What helps you see His big picture?

Things for me:
sweet piano music
writing down my thoughts
Hearing people's stories
laughing late at night
reflectional time

being outside


On Reassimilation To Ones First Culture

I'm taking a cultural anthropology class this semester (and a lot of other classes that I should be doing homework for instead of writing this), so I thought that I'd title this blog in anthropological terms.

The truth is, I'm pretty glad to be in an anthropology class because it's helping me readapt a little better and more fully process my time in Bolivia. Bolivia....I miss it so much right now. Last night I spent four hours working on my Spanish homework and then went to Spanish class for another two and a half hours, and by the time I came home it was like I was floating on a cloud. It felt so good to be reimmersed in the language, to see my shortcomings but also all the ways I've improved since my last Spanish class last spring. Thinking in Spanish here makes me happy and sad. As I was walking to class after all my homework, my mind was still processing my assignment and so I was thinking in Spanish. A girl that I know passed me, and "Hola!" was halfway out of my mouth before I changed it to "hey!" I felt so sheepish and happy.

There have been hard times, too, though. Watching cute kids play or not seeing any cute kids for a long time makes me miss my boys at Talita Cumi so much. The other night "ya tu sabes" came out of my mouth and I really missed Tiburcio. I hate that I was getting so close to Ester and then I had to leave. Sometimes I really want to have a good conversation in Spanish and no one is there. One night I just started talking to a guy who works in the Nest at my school because I knew he spoke Spanish, and then I laughed at myself because he totally still doesn't know who I am. I pretty much used him for his Spanish abilities. Seeing the giant quantities of food we throw away or my closet FULL of clothes is hard and convicting. I also hate paying the cost of a nice piece of land in Bolivia every semester for tuition.

So, in all this I have seen how God is so good to allow me to study at a great school, to be in a Spanish class, to have had my experience in Bolivia, and ultimately to have grown in Him in both places. I know now a taste of how I will feel when I'm a missionary somewhere and I come back to the US. Praise God for my increased desire to see His glory spread to all nations, and pray with me that I will be very attentive to His will in these following few years.

I'm including a few Christmas pictures that I recently got. All the boys from Talita Cumi are in it!