Language & Culture Studies with a Toddler


This is what language & culture study looks like with a toddler!

My imperfect quest to fluency has done an amazing job of reminding me to have grace for myself.

As I said in my previous post, it is hard for me to do things halfway so I either do or I just don’t! And the last few months I haven’t been! Granted it has been a very busy time as we transitioned our sweet foster son to his forever family (so many bittersweet tears!).

But what helped me to integrate Japanese into our lives (as opposed to taking over our lives and making us useless stateside) was oddly enough, a book that had nothing to do with languages.

Women of the Word.

(You can get your copy here or head into your local Lifeway if you have one and pick up a copy there!)

I love this book- I could write a whole post just about how helpful it is, but I’ll settle for a quick paragraph. It has been revolutionary in my personal Bible study time. Especially answering the question of “where do I start?” in Bible Study. Incredible.

In it, Jen talks about building Bible literacy. She goes over how Bible study needs to be approached with patience, you’re not going to understand everything you read in your first read-through. I’d venture to say no one will ever fully comprehend everything in the Bible. God is that awesome. But there is one quote I got from this book that really stuck with me and has seeped into all other areas of my life.

“By all means build.” 

The author was talking about building Bible literacy. Even if it’s slow-going, keep going! A little is better than nothing! “By all means build” has become sort of a life-motto for me since I’ve read it. It’s changed the way that I approach, well, change. I know it’s silly but for all of my twenty-seven years I’ve just expected change to happen and stick fairly quickly- leaving little room for grace for myself.

But that phrase, “by all means build”, has helped me to realize that even if I’m sowing small seeds, and just a few at a time- it’s something- and it’s sure better than nothing.

So… in my approach to fluency: “by all means build!”

I am so grateful to live in a town with a wonderful public library system. (I actually take advantage of the library systems in two counties since we are very near the county line!). This is one thing I will surely miss when we move to Japan. My boy and I load up the van with last weeks’ library books and head off to get some more on an every-other-week rotation. He’s unaware as of yet that we’re moving to Japan someday. But he does enjoy learning the culture and language (and honestly having it simplified for children helps me so much too)!

So, this is me building- one picture book at a time, haha! But even though missions as a family can be a little more complicated, I know God intended us to do this as a family, to be there for each other as we live out this calling and prepare for whatever He has planned.   -K

Really, Japan??

I admit, I’ve basically ignored the Eastern part of the world. I’ve always been very much into Europe, Africa and South America- but as for the rest of the world…. It was just too different for me- I couldn’t relate. So when, 5 months into our marriage, Matt tells me he thinks God is calling us to Japan, my jaw was in our downstairs neighbor’s apartment. Japan? I’m sorry, what?? I “prayed” for a month- which consisted of me telling God all the reasons why we’re not called to Japan. I was in the middle of ranting to one of my closest friends about how we absolutely need to stay in America, because we’re living in such a materialistic world, and I feel like Americans are forgetting their need for God. It hit me big- right there at the intersection of Cortez and 41- as I ranted on the phone. It was almost as if God audibly spoke saying- open your heart Kristen- Doesn’t Japan need the same thing? I felt God gently telling me, enough-child, are you going to go where I send you or shall I send someone else? That’s when I knew. Matt was right. The last place I’ve ever wanted to go- just became top priority.   -K