Here's Part 2 from our guest blogger, my daughter Emily! (it's a continuation of Expect the Unexpected, posted last week. Be sure to read it before you read this one.)

 From India, my parents and I flew to Johannesburg, South Africa to attend an annual meeting of all the global directors for Walk Thru the Bible from around the world. The directors from Argentina, Kenya, Ukraine, South Africa, United Kingdom, Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Egypt, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and other nations all came to a retreat center outside of Johannesburg to spend a week together learning a new course and strategizing about ministry goals for the upcoming year. Going into the week I was planning to follow Chris Tiegreen, Walk Thru's Communications Director, and learn as much about photography and videography from him as I could. I had gotten to do a little bit of that in India, but God had other plans for most of my time there. It turned out the same was true for South Africa. I came in thinking I knew how I would be spending my time, but before the first day of meetings was finished I realized I would have a new challenge to take on.

All of the global directors either grew up speaking English or have learned it since beginning their ministry with Walk Thru, but sometimes when they get together all their varying accents can present a problem for their comprehension. If we're being honest, it's sometimes even hard for me to follow what is going on in the meetings, and I'm a native English speaker. Pretty quickly we realized that the director from Argentina was having trouble following what everyone was saying, and as a result his voice was not getting heard as it should in the meetings. My dad pulled me aside and asked me if I could be available to translate if he needed me to. I thought to myself, "Wow I haven't spoken a word of Spanish in eight months...I'm not sure I can just pull it out and translate right now." But then I thought about the years I had spent working hard to learn Spanish. I remembered walking into Spanish class the first day of 9th grade not knowing what to expect, and walking out 50 minutes later determined that someday I would be fluent. I went to the trouble of learning Spanish so that I could help people communicate and facilitate international ministry, so obviously I wasn't going to turn down the opportunity to do both of those things with a group of leaders who I love and respect. So instead of running around taking pictures, I got to spend the week hanging out with my friend Alex being his personal translator. I didn't get all the grammar just right, and I realized that I've forgotten some things since translating on the World Race, but it was great practice and so worth it to see him able to communicate fully what he was thinking to his colleagues. The week was a great reminder of how far I've come since deciding to learn Spanish. God has honored my hard work and continues to give me cool, unexpected opportunities to use my gift to connect people and help them in their ministry. Spending the week in the Spanish side of my brain got me very excited for the next trip we had planned to Central America, which I'll tell you about in the next blog in this series.


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