In 1991, my family was asked to spend a year beginning a mission work in Czechoslovakia. It was an exciting time as we prepared to bring the Gospel to a nation newly liberated from communism.
One of the first jobs was to learn the Czech language. I was fairly good with Spanish, so I thought learning a third language would be no big deal. I was wrong. I soon discovered that Slavic languages have a completely different grammatical structure from English or Spanish. In Czech there may be 40 different ways to say the name of something, depending on who is speaking, is it the subject, object, indirect object, masculine, feminine, neuter, singular, two to five, or more than five of them, big or little.
I soon realized I was never going to learn Czech grammar in a year. So I just learned vocabulary and spoke as best I could without conjugating the words. I’m sure I sounded funny, but I communicated, which was the goal.
Sometimes just grasping the basics redeems the time.
Rick Grubbs is best known as the host of “Redeeming the Time,” a one-minute radio program featured on hundreds of radio outlets around the world. He has spoken thousands of times on Biblical time management in all 50 states and 26 other countries. He is the author of the book “Morning Momentum: God’s plan for launching an unstoppable day”. He and his wife Carrie live in Salisbury NC with several of their 12 children.