Posted by: macahajo | April 19, 2015

a lot of blank stares

Ever felt in over your head?
It’s a feeling I am becoming more and more accustomed to here in Cameroon! I am confronted almost daily with so many new and different cultural situations, and I regularly face the reality of how difficult language learning is.
For the last several months, I have helped a Cameroonian named Didier with his club volleyball team, Trinity. Didier and I both share a similar passion not only for volleyball, but also for evangelism and discipleship. We have been praying for God’s direction for the volleyball ministry, and we are studying Leading from the Sandbox, written by ReachGlobal’s president T.J. Addington. It’s a practical ‘how-to’ manual for developing a central-ministry focus, as well as for developing, empowering, and releasing high-impact ministry teams.
Didier has started to develop a competitive team to play in some of the tournaments and leagues in Cameroon. There are some really talented young men, and we are blessed to have a good group of guys participating.
Sports are such a great creative way to reach into the secular world here and interact with non-Christians. It is interesting to see how all of the young men on the club team seem to have a cursory understanding of prayer and Christianity. Didier and I are excited to get into Bible studies and deeper relationship with the players.
But this is where I start to have those ‘in over my head’ kind of feelings. I have been working hard on language; I can have brief conversations with people here, and I understand when people speak to me more and more. But trying to express myself in any way deeper than how was your day and I would like to go to this place, is a challenge.
Add to that the need to learn specific volleyball vocabulary to use on the court, and the water feels like it’s rising. Let me give you an example. I was leading conditioning during our practice… I had the players climb a large set of stairs, then run it, and then take two steps at a time. I wanted to explain that this was for their benefit, not a punishment. But they just didn’t understand what I was trying to communicate.
I get a lot of blank stares right now.
But that’s okay! I love it!  I am determined to push through this and grow to be fluent in French… not only so that I can be understood, but so that I can also understand and truly hear the hearts of all of these young men.  We look forward to seeing God do his work and transform their lives!
Serving Him, Mark Kato


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