We have moved our family to Salvador for the next four weeks to hammer the language. This is a historic Brasilian city on the coast that was “discovered” before 1500. I will write more on its fascinating and somewhat disturbing history.
We have decided that we will not be as affective as we would like to be in our ministry without focusing on the language exclusively, using professional resources to do so. There are various schools that teach foreigners Portuguese but all are located on the Atlantic coast. It’s nice in that it puts us in a nice setting but it’s quite challenging from a cost perspective. Our frustration in communicating finally reached a point where we realized that the benefit would outweigh the cost. After our two years in Brasil, we understand why most missionary agencies require six months to a year of language training before beginning work. Communication is what we do and if we can’t communicate effectively, our work is less than effective. Medicine has been nice for me in that I have still been able to provide a service without communicating with excellence. But medicine apart from ministry is not where my heart is (and what God has asked of me), as it is a tool to love and in love communicating the truth of who Jesus is. Thus the need for effectively communicating in Portuguese.
We (three families – 7 adults, 9 kids) took a 50 hr bus ride (a memory, to say the least) here from Altamira and are living together in a house in downtown Salvador. Our family is in one upstairs room with a nice view of the downtown skyline. We are about a 20 min walk from a public beach on the Atlantic side of the city and in our first few days we’ve already enjoyed the ocean waves and the misty sea air. We also are about the same distance from the school and a mall with McDonald’s and Subway which gives us a nice break from our typical Brasilian fare (Altamira doesn’t have fast food).
We begin school today. We’ll keep you posted!