Yes please, and lots of it! I’m talking every day from 9-12:30 and then a few hours of homework. Before we started, I felt like we were weenies only attending school for 3.5 hours everyday, but it has turned out to be much more challenging than we originally anticipated. Our teachers speak no English, so even their instructions are in Japanese (which we don’t yet understand… see where I’m going with this?) We’re the only people in the class who haven’t studied Japanese before, so we usually feel like we’re missing something when everyone else seems to understand. We’ve also discovered that our brains take a break after the second hour, so the last hour and a half is mostly an exercise in perseverance. It doesn’t help that our instructors have a vital concern for detail that we do not equally share (like how many spaces you put between the title and the first word of your paragraph, and whether or not you answered question number 3 before you answered question number four on an assignment you’ll never turn in). But in spite of these things, we’ve really been having fun and we’ve seen God’s goodness in so many ways. Take our classmates for example:
As you probably guessed, we’re the only Americans. We’ve got a great Chinese classmate who really likes us for some reason and speaks to us in English whenever he thinks of a word (sometimes while the teacher is talking). We have 10 Vietnamese classmates who are really funny and are constantly getting in trouble for being on their cellphones; and we have 2 Nepalese, one of whom has been our saving grace because he has studied Japanese extensively and can explain things to us in English when we’re puzzled. But not only are we entertained – we’re beginning to develop relationships. Our Chinese and Nepalese friends (self-declared “non-religious” guys) have even made plans to come to Open Mic Night with us on Friday at the Cafe.
So as you pray for us, please pray for the hard things: ask God for patience with ourselves, for supernatural understanding, for retention, and for energy to do all the normal day-to-day things we have to do once language school ends. But, please also praise God for our classmates and ask him to work in their lives. Who knows?… what feels like a period of training and preparation for us may be a time that God has ordained for planting or even harvesting! Please pray with us to that end.