“I just want to learn English.”

“I just want to learn English.”

Darik. Say that name to me and I have mixed emotions. On one hand I feel complete and utter joy. On the other, a feeling of anxiety begins to rise. 

Joy:  Darik was explaining something to me. I can’t recall what exactly we were talking about, but he was walking me through something—an explanation probably. Once I came to the realization he wanted me to find, I jokingly retorted, “Darik! What would I do without you? I’d be so lost. Thank you for helping me.” Darik tilted his head at me and wagged his finger, “No, Jourdan, you would be lost without God.” 

I just smiled and hugged him fiercely. You are so right, child. Joy.

Anxiety:  I am sitting at a table with Sitota, Aysema, Maye, and Darik. All of them except Darik are what I would identify as emerging English learners. They have a difficult time finding words to speak, so they resort to answering in Amharic. Needless to say, I try my best to help them one-on-one; however, Darik demands all of my attention even though he is the most advanced English speaker at the table. As I help Sitota and Aysema speak and write a list of animals in English, Darik takes Sitota’s notebook and puts his in front of me, proudly displaying his list of 25 animals, 15 more than what we tasked the class to find. “Jourdan, is this correct?” Sitota erupts and there’s a heated conversation taken place in Amharic between Darik and her. I try to save the situation but there’s no going back. Similar situations like this one continued to take place at my table throughout the day. 

It was an incredibly difficult day for me. I was so frustrated with Darik for not being patient, for not letting me help his sisters with their English, because he wanted all of my attention. 

Fast forward to the next morning during our devotion. The big idea for the morning was patience and Kelly said something that stuck with me:  I think about how God is so patient with me, even after all these years. 

Patient. God is so patient with me, so why can’t I be patient with Darik? I was convicted and humbled to the core. I prayed that God would help me be more patient with Darik. I prayed that prayer so hard. 

We finally made it to the school that morning and I pulled Darik aside, “Darik, I’m sorry for not being patient with you yesterday while I was helping Sitota. I want to be able to help all of you, but I can’t. Will you forgive me?” 

Darik just smiled and said, “No problem, Jourdan. I’m sorry too. I just want to learn English.”

All he wanted was to grow in his English. He desired to learn and that’s why he wanted my undivided attention.

I could go on and unpack all that happened in my heart, but I’m going to leave these stories as they are because I believe God is at work. He is at work here in Addis through Bring Love In, and he is whispering to us in the smallest of ways. What we’re doing here matters because God is at work indeed. 

Comments are closed.