Monday, June 15, 2015

Speed Teaching in Slovakia

In various communities in Slovakia this year, short-term ministry teams have invested in the lives of students by assisting them in learning English.  Supplementing the excellent work of local teachers, these teams encourage and challenge eager students.

A favorite activity for teaching is akin to speed dating!  The students are put into small groups and the native speakers sit with them for ten minutes.  During that time they ask simple questions, go through their introductions or colors, and get to know each other just a little.  Then it is time to switch groups!
Laughter and fun fill the room.  Being the presence of Christ by helping with English literacy has proved a meaningful ministry strategy.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Alien Images

 As you can see from these old passport photos of ours, identity photos usually look like one a) has just beamed down from an alien planet; b) was recently in a line-up and really ought to be confined; c) is having a bad hair life, rather than just a bad hair day.
The identity photos we had taken this week were no better. We don't have copies of those, though. We are in the process of renewing our residents' visas. The new mug shots were part of that process and are still with the Dutch immigration service. As part of that process we also met a number of fellow foreigners. Some of them had very interesting--well, almost foreign--ideas about Americans.
For instance, why would we need to learn Dutch? We could do all our business in English, couldn't we? (Except read and write notes to school, send in a repair request to the landlord, sell something on line, fill out a form at the doctor's office or the bank or . . . ).
And why do we need visas? Americans can go anywhere they want. (Except the CBF couple who couldn't get into Canada or the other CBF couple who had to switch from Greece to Spain or the folks who were deported from a North African country or . . . . Our own team members in Slovakia  have to jump through serious hoops to renew their residents' visas or . . . .)
Perhaps the best one came from a very well-educated woman from Kazakhstan. She and her daughter wanted to visit the United States. But they were concerned about the danger. Everyone there walks around with weapons, right?
My image of Kazakhstan is probably as misinformed as her image of my country.  Thank God the image on my identity photo doesn't accurately reflect the real me, either. (Does it??)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Is this your language?

1 O Petre hai o Ioan gianas ko Templo ko ciaso le rughimasko, kăl trin pala ăl deșudui. 2 Ăk manuș, ologo dă kana kerdilos, sas andino. Sas muklo andă fiosavo ghes pașai poarta le Temploski savi buciolas e Poarta Șukar, kaște manghel katar kola kai întrinas ando Templo. 3 Kadava manuș, kana dikhleas le Petres hai le Ioanos, kă kamen te întrin ando Templo, manglea lenghe love.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Life . . . it's irrepressible

Signs of life spring up everywhere, even in the center of a cogwheel train line in Switzerland.