Anyone who plays a sport with any seriousness knows the importance of a good warm up. It might include stretching or breathing exercises. Maybe a short cardio routine to get your heart pumping.
While Kayla Gilley was taught this by her father at a young age, she never expected to use it for learning a language in a foreign country.
Kayla and her husband, Craig, are learning that their performance as language learners is taking a lot of preparation exercises first.
“We are currently in the ‘warm up’ phase of language learning. Our primary goal is to listen and observe. Listen for common greetings in phrases. Listen for how the language is spoken including speed, tone and fluency. We are to observe our neighbours, the market, the public transportation and many other cultural events we may encounter on a daily basis,” they write.
They are ready to study and memorize, learning dialogues and grammar rules, but as any coach will tell you, jumping right in might lead to falling behind rather than getting ahead.
So Kayla and Craig will meet their neighbours as they go for walks or take public transportation. Maybe just saying hi from their porch and keeping track of who they meet and where in the form of a map.
It takes great courage and discipline to go to meetings where there is a lot to observe and listen to in order to learn. Kayla went to a neighbourhood ladies meeting recently where she didn’t understand anything besides the friendliness of everyone she met.
They ask us to pray for them as they get ready to begin to learn the language of the country where they have gone to be ambassadors for Christ.