I thought that it was high time that I updated you with what I have been keeping myself busy with. Hanneke has been doing a great job of keeping you up to date as to what we have all been up to as a family. When not doing fun stuff with the family I have had my head down doing some language study.
I started with Summer Greek. Providentially I had been able to test out of the first half of Summer Greek. This allowed us time to settle in as a family, and gave me a bit of time to try and get myself up to speed with the Greek that I had already learned.
Well, they call it Intensive Greek, and it certainly was that! The students called it Kamikaze Greek, and it certainly felt like it sometimes! While I had already done half a year of Greek, it took me a while to get up to speed with where the other students were at. They were using a different text book to mine, and so different authors mean slightly different teaching approaches.
Each class day began with a test on the previous days lesson, as well as the entire vocabulary that we had learned to date. Each day we had to learn 10-15 Greek words, and some part of Greek Grammar. There were also exercises for each chapter that we had to complete.
Despite a lot of nervousness, I managed to do quite well on my mid term test, much better than I had anticipated. The Lord is gracious and answers prayer. The mid term test was after 1 and a half weeks, and then we had the final exam last week Tuesday. I have not had my final results back yet, but I was pretty happy with my Final Exam. The translation was a selection from John 1, a chapter which Rev Vaatstra patiently worked through with me as we worked through my Greek together. Thank you Rev Vaatstra! So while I still had to work through the passage translating the words I was reasonably familiar with the passage.
So my Greek has come quite a long way over the past couple of weeks. However it is only the beginning. I need to work on my parsing (pulling the words to bits), and also continue to work on my vocabulary. We have been encouraged to continue reading our Greek bibles before we start Second Year Greek in a week or two. We also will begin our classes with a test on all the Vocabulary that we have learnt to date. Review, Review, Review!
It is awesome to get a glimpse of the richness of God's Word! As I get more fluent I am sure that I will see much more.
So that was Greek. Last week Tuesday we had a lovely afternoon and evening off, before starting a Hebrew intensive the next day!
The Hebrew Intensive was just (!) 3 days. We were introduced to the Alphabet, and memorised that for a test the next day. I have to admit, that it was a struggle to get my head around the alphabet. The Greek Alphabet is pretty similar to the English Alphabet. However when I first looked at Hebrew, it really just looked like lots of squiggly lines.
One of my classmates introduced me to a song on You Tube. This song was very helpful in learning the letters. Here is the link:
WARNING AND DISCLAIMER: This song is highly addictive, especially if you listen to it at least 20 times.
I now have this song permanently ingrained in my head! However it has had the desired effect, and I now have a reasonable grasp of the alphabet. I still play it every now and then to remind me. Hanneke has even caught me dancing to it in my Office. Most embarrassing, but I did manage to reduce her to tears of laughter.
Yesterday (Monday) we had our Orientation day. Thankfully one of the Seminary wives offered to look after the girls , and so Hanneke was able to spend the day at Seminary as well. I am sure that Hanneke will post some of her thoughts, but it was good for her to hear what the Professor's expectations of me were.
What are some of the things that I took away from Orientation?
Firstly, the need for balance. There was a strong emphasis on not neglecting Hanneke and the little ladies in training. The point was made several times that compromises are going to have to be made sometimes. There is a real danger in the ministry for perfectionism. That is something I freely confess that I struggle with. We were told that we must 'learn to tolerate incompleteness'. I'm glad that I have Hanneke to keep me on the straight and narrow.
Secondly, the need to be organised. The Senior students that I have been talking to have given me some good advice. Without exception all talk about the high work load, and keeping on top of things.
Thirdly, the need to continue to develop godliness. Seminary workload is not an excuse to put aside personal devotions and prayer.
Today, we attended the Seminary Retreat, attended by the Faculty and the students, with most of the wives, including Hanneke, attending as well. We had two talks on 'Recovering a Biblical Tradition of Pastoral Care", taken by the Rev Al Bezuyen, who is also going to be taking me for Catechetics.
After lunch it was the traditional water balloon catching game, followed by water balloon throwing. Someone who shall remain nameless ambushed her husband twice! (editors note, haha, got take advantage of the opportunities as they present themselves!!)
So tomorrow work begins in earnest. I have all my books, which I'll fill you in on another time. Now it's time to get stuck in, I'm looking forward to it!
- Please pray for good time management and organisation.
- Please also pray for good retention, as I get back into the Student mode.