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Sunday, September 9, 2012

La Ruta

A street right by our house where I'll be walking
   Instead of taking a standard 'language class' this trimester, I'm doing a program called FARO. FARO is an acronym for Facilitator, Assistant, Route, and Oir (which means 'to hear'). The spanish word for route is 'la ruta.'

     La ruta is at the same time the most important part of FARO as well as the most intimidating component. I need to create my own route-- meaning, I have to engage 8 to 20 Costa Ricans (or native spanish speakers) and ask them to speak with me twice a week for a minimum of 15 minutes per visit. The reality is in a culture like this, the minimum is more like 30-45 minutes. Time means everything here.


      Did you catch the intimidating part? I need to approach 8 - 20 people. Strangers. People who speak a different language than I do and have no idea who I am. And I have to speak their language to them to ask if they'll help me out. A stranger... who talks like a child in their language.

      I'd say that I'm a people person... but can't you  just feel that knot in your stomach that forms when you have to do something that is out of your comfort zone? You know it's good for you. You know how much it will help you. But what if the person behind that door doesn't want to buy your holiday wrapping paper? Or your girl scout cookies? Or those candy bars for your sports team?

      Tomorrow starts the second week of classes for this trimester. It's also the first week that I'll have to go out and walk my route, engaging with all of these Costa Ricans individually. I'll likely be spending 8+ hours talking with Costa Ricans this week. I'm both scared and incredibly excited all at the same time.

      I'll be planning out what topic to talk about with these people each time I see them-- so there will be a level of direction in the conversations. But I'm curious to see where some of them will lead. Please pray that God will use the little, broken spanish that I know to connect with these people I'll be investing in over the next 3 1/2 months.

      And if you're wondering about these 8 - 20 people, and when I have to go find them; that's what I've been doing since we got back. I'm just a couple of people away in terms of those who have committed to allowing me to talk with them on a weekly basis. And I definitely paced back and forth outside (nervously) for a while before talking to the first person... but it got a lot easier after that.

     Blessings to you and your family as we enter another week in the name of Christ, our Savior!

 -jim

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