Na Shi Jiu Hao Le Ba

I tried to translate the title for this, but I came up empty. Lisette

Communication is they key to every successful relationship. This is truth. Right up there with God is our Heavenly Father and Jesus is our Savior. And the second is like unto it — if you’re having problems, start with making sure the communication is clear.

This week we had a lesson with two girls from Indonesia. Their Chinese, English and Arabic were about the same place as a second transfer missionary. Their Indonesian and Taiyu, though were incredible. Unfortunately, my Indonesian is non-existent and Yang JieMei’s Taiyu is passable. It was the most interesting exercize in overcoming language barriers I’ve ever seen and pretty much set the tone for today’s email.

Yang Jiemei, as you all know (I think) is my first Native companion and, actually, we have no Chinese/English communication barriers. She does talk REALLY fast, though, so often is a problem of not being able to distinguish one word from another… which leads to lots of laughs! We switch off between English and Chinese every day — so outside lessons we speak the language of the day. My Chinese has improved a ton, even in two weeks, and her English has gotten so smooth that she gave a speech at last weeks Special Training in English! I was so proud of her. šŸ˜€

But there are other, more subtle communication barriers one can encounter. These are miscommunication of expectations, of knowledge, of prejudice, etc… Because they are not as easily detectable, they are not as easily solvable. It takes a significant dose of humility and elbow grease to work through those kind of communication barriers… as I learned this week. Something about Guonian (maybe the mass ammounts of eating… aiyo!) made me forget what it takes to be a missionary. I started to doubt what I was doing, why I was here, and if I even wanted to be here…. so much so that yesterday was just awful. I broke down and my poor companion thought for sure I was mad at her.

Thankfully, I have a companion. She’s a straight shooter and not easily intimdated. She told me exactly what I needed to hear — if you don’t want to be a missionary, don’t be one. Just decide and do. If that deciding means going home — go home. If that deciding means staying — then stay. Either way, make a decision and follow through on it.

This is something I learned quite a while ago, actually, when I got home a couple Augusts ago and had to learn how to drive the 1994 manual transmission truck sitting in our driveway. I’d landed myself a new job, but had no one to drive me to it…. Dad just pointed at the truck and didn’t have to say any more.

That memory, coupled with this quote from a recent email from my best friend are what I learned this week: just start. God can’t fix you if you’re not moving.

“That is one thing that I really respect about people who may not know exactly what they want to be doing, but who are doing something, trying, not sitting still, and not stagnant. I think that is wonderful and fantastic.”

Much love,

Sister Oler


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