1) Preaching. We set a goal for me to attempt and preach for five minutes at the end of my sixth month of language school. So this being our sixth month, I preached my first sermon in Chinese for about 6 minutes! This doesn’t mean that I am close to where I need to be, but it is a sign of progress! Praise the Lord! Here is how I prepared for it:
First, I wrote out about five minutes worth of material in English. (This was everything I wanted to say, including the introduction and closing prayer.)
Second, I translated my text from English to Chinese the best I could. Looking up new words, trying to use things I learned, and guessing at what I didn’t know.
Third, after translating the text I gave the text to my teacher (Chinese person) and he helped me correct it. After trying to figure out what I wanted to say, he then took it, made it better and more Chinese sounding (better fluency, corrected words, and added his own spin to it).
Fourth, I re-read the text figuring out the changes and learning the new words and trying to understand all the grammar and why it was arranged like it was.
Fifth, after understanding the text fully I started memorizing it and becoming familiar with it. I practiced preaching it with my teacher. He would correct my pronunciation, fluency, inflection, and tones.
Finally, I preached it on the last Wednesday of the month! (I was so nervous it felt like I was preaching for my very first time again.)
Though we have a long way to go it is exciting to be able to speak the Word of God in this new language!
2) Tones & Pronunciation. My tones and pronunciation are coming along and there is definite improvement from my first month until now. But as sentences are combined and get more complicated the pronunciation and tones get harder. It feels like after you finally get this word’s tone and pronunciation down, you run unto another problem and seems as if you are moving backwards. This month I had a noticeable problem with third tones followed by second tones (going from the lowest pitch to the highest).
3) Grammar. I didn’t get around to reading much more of a grammar book this month, but I did learn a lot about grammar. It seemed that I was asking “why” this month more than normal (Why this word? What is this used for?). As different things came up, I would understand the whole sentence except for this or that? A simple person like me has to have it explained many times over before I finally get it.
4) Improvement. More Focus needs to be put in the same areas as last month. Speaking with people in longer than an introduction settings and improved listening. Opportunities for this should be more available as the weather is warming up and more people are lingering about.
5) More School! Sometime in month seven I should be applying for another school due to needing a new visa. Pray that we find the right school, we can get visas for our whole family through it, and the added hours of school will be beneficial (I will be enrolled in two schools full time).