좋은 아침! ¡Buenos días! Доброе утро! Chào buổi sáng! Good morning!
Morning is well under way at the Amanda Knight Hall in Provo, Utah. Senior missionaries and language tutors fill little classrooms lining the hall of the aged, but comfortable, building. The Missionary Language Training immersion program for senior missionaries is in full swing.
This week it is Korean, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese being taught. Next week it might be Swedish or Japanese. Whatever the need, senior missionaries going all over the world can receive language training for their respective mission, either here in person or via Skype with tutors and native speakers.
Elder Coffey and I struggle to sound out the phonetic difference between “tập” and “đọc”, when both sound like “dop” to untrained, Western ears. Young but completely fluent tutors, all returned missionaries, mentor us in pronunciation, grammar patterns, and scenarios. Patiently they answer a seemingly endless stream of questions. They are all absolutely excellent.
Our schedule includes a variety of tutors, personal study time, and plenty of breaks when we need them. And need them we do! Though the pace is slower than what the young missionaries get, it is plenty fast for us seniors.
The senior sister missionary next door pops her head in to introduce herself. She and her husband are preparing to serve a Spanish speaking temple mission in Bolivia. This is their second mission. Another couple down the hall is studying Korean for a Military Relations Mission. This is their third mission. The first two were in Russia.
Come 5:00 pm our eyes glaze over, our heads spin, and it is time to end for the day. It is hard to teach old dogs new tricks. But swelling up inside, a ray of optimism surfaces. His voice whispers, “You got this. You can do this. Open your mouths and they shall be filled. This is not your work. It is mine. You are on my errand.”
|Flickr.com courtesy of Harry and Rowena Kennedy|