First let me say that I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. That is the actual and proper name for our church. Our church is often referred to as the LDS Church, or the Mormon Church. This series of posts was at the request of some of my friends on Facebook. You can read more about that here–on my Landing Page or introduction for the Write 31 Days Challenge.
One of the most challenging things about serving a mission can be learning a new language. You not only have to learn to teach the Gospel in that language, but you also need to be able to communicate about every day normal things as well.
I mentioned in an earlier post that the Spanish I learned in the MTC was not the Spanish I spoke in Spain. I served in Southern Spain, in Andalusia. The people there tend to swallow their words and then in some places there is a mixture of Portuguese and Arabic mixed in as well. It was challenging and every place had a little different dialect. So when I transferred, in some ways it was like starting over in the language department.
My first Sunday, we were having a dinner appointment with a member family. I had a terrible time understanding anything. However, they were determined to communicate with me and not just have my companion translate for me. They wanted to know if I liked chicken. We played charades. Not kidding. They asked me by acting it out. It was a lot of fun and I’ve never forgotten it.
Another memory was when I got my first native companion. She was actually from Barcelona. And it made me feel better when even she had difficulty understanding some of the people in our area. I understood her perfectly. She wanted to learn English, and I needed to learn more Spanish. At the end of our time together, I had learned A LOT of Spanish, and she had learned A LOT of English. I remember one time that I wanted some carrots, but had no clue how to ask for them. She had no clue what I wanted. One day, as we passed an outdoor market, I spotted some. I was really excited and I showed her and told her that these were carrots. She laughed and told me it was la zanahoria in Spanish. I’ve never forgotten it. After that, I would point to them and say la zanahoria, and she would say carrot. She was a lot of fun.
Here is a video of lots of returned missionaries speaking over 50 different languages. Super fun to watch.