Today I hit a big milestone! This morning I taught a Sunday School class and I only spoke in the Thai language. I have been preparing for 2 weeks for this lesson. And more than that, I have been working hard at this language for almost 2 years so that I could do this! I'm so excited that I'm finally getting to the time where I can start teaching about God in Thai. Don't get me wrong, I still have A LOT to learn. My pronunciation wasn't close to perfect, nor was my tones, sentence structures, and other things. But, I believe God used it. I was so thankful for people in the class being patient with me as I was trying to share in their language, and after it was finished they encouraged me a lot with their kind words. God definitely blessed me with a good experience and I'm looking forward to teaching again next month.
God has really answered our prayers! I'm so thankful for our supporters and friends that prayed for me. I really had a peace going into this. For me this could have been easily the most terrifying thing I have had to do in Thailand haha. That might sound strange, but its true. I get nervous sharing from God's Word in English. If I can get nervous sharing in a language that I don't even have to think about and I know exactly what is coming out of my mouth, imagine how I could have felt today in a language that is still difficult for me. God blessed me so much. Could I have done better? probably.. But I'm thankful I survived and I really enjoyed sharing with them. It was really nice to talk directly to them and not have to depend on an interpreter.
During the time I was sharing I had a few out-of-body-experiences... Sound weird? I mean, I kinda stepped back and heard myself speaking in another language and people around me seeming to benefit from it. That was cool! I can't really explain how that felt, but it was interesting. It was like I was on auto-pilot and I stepped back to observe what was going on and how I sounded. I never stopped speaking and I didn't have to think about what I was saying. During that time I could hear myself and really observe how people were reacting to what I was saying. It was neat.
The topic of discussion was "Praying Without Ceasing." We talked about the importance of it, what it looks like, how it can deepen our relationship with God, and shared together some methods that we can use to go about doing it. It was fun. I feel so blessed. I pray that God continues to help me in this language so that I can communicate clearer and deeper each time I get the chance to teach.
Here is a snap shot of my notes. If any of my missionary friends read this you can see how I decided to structure my notes in both languages. Basically I wrote down the sentences and words in Thai that I needed to work on. When I was speaking and got in a bind I would just look down and read what I wrote in Thai.
Videoing myself practice the lesson before I taught it helped a lot! I recorded myself probably a dozen times or more to find out where my trouble spots were in the language. It also helped me gain speed and helped me speak smother I think. I'm not going to lie, it's kind of painful to actually see yourself and hear yourself, but it was helpful to know how I really sound. It was interesting also to see how I move my mouth and do things with my facial expressions when I came to words and things that where more difficult for me to say.