Wednesday, February 16, 2011

One more Lesson with the Missionaries

I got phone call from the young missionary wanting to set up another lesson appointment.  Oh, I thought there were only four, and he tells me that there is one more.  I ask what is the lesson content, and he tells me it will be about the Commandments.  Arranged an appointment for us for tomorrow.

Referencing one of the church meetings we had last Sunday (I really must learn the title names of these meetings) for newcomers which Arthur is not but since I am he agrees to endure these meetings with me.  I say endure as I'm sure for him they are repetitive and unlikely of great interest to him.  It does provide him though with an opportunity to expand on the content, welcome help which the brother doing the teaching seems to appreciate.  There are two other newcomers in this meeting now, so it is not just us two as I had previously thought.   One is a man recently baptized and was confirmed at the earlier meeting, which means I've now seen the process for a confirmation, the laying of hands by the men (the men once again!) on his head as confirmation verbiage is stated aloud.  The other is a Spanish speaking man who speaks some limited English.

I'm wondering as the lesson goes on just what the Spanish man can assimilate since the book and the language being spoken is English.  At some point, I asked Arthur to inquire in Spanish of the man if he is able to follow the lesson.  He tells Arthur in Spanish that he is able to follow along, does speak some English.  I ask the brother teaching the class if they have the lesson book (Gospel Principles) in Spanish.  He says they do not.  Hmmm, given the population of Spanish speaking people here..... enough said.  But having met the woman who came here from Guatemala and she quickly learned to speak and read English, perhaps it works to other Spanish speaking people's interests to encourage them to learn English.

We both have heard too often, too many times from the local people in this area what sounds to our ears like contemptuous remarks about how the Spanish speaking need to learn to speak English because after all, whomoever is making the remark will invariably follow it up with how their immigrant great grandparents had to learn English when they got to this country.   Uh, disconnect there, because the person making the remarks did not have to learn a second language and knows little about what that process entails.  We know it is easier for young people to learn a second language than it is for mature adults, and we know most of the time the person making such a remark does not know a second language and might struggle greatly to learn a second language.  But I don't need to go off on a tangent here.  Perhaps in time, this Ward will see wisdom in having some of the learning materials in Spanish as well as English.  I'm fairly sure the larger LDS church has materials in more than one language.

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