Translators - Intersecting the world
Remembering that high school Spanish that you thought you'd never use will only get you so far in conversation in Venezuela. There is a lot more to be said beyond, "Como estas? (How are you?)" and having someone to translate those conversations is essential to connections with individuals and groups. Spanish speaking missionaries and local translators quickly become your best friends. They are the link to questions asked by a curious child and your voice when it comes time to answer. This year's team is fortunate to have Shandra along with us...she's not one of the athletes, but is a Belmont student with ever increasing translating experience using her classroom skills in Spanish.
Seated opposite Andy in this picture is Shandra. Andy, who speaks to every one he meets (which should be no surprise to those who know him), found this 10-year old boy on the basketball court and began a simple introduction with him in something that at least sounded like Spanish. It was quickly apparent that blank looks on Andy and the boy's faces just wouldn't cut it so Andy waved Shandra into action. What followed isn't something that seemed terribly significant to the crowd standing around, but this young boy spent time chatting with an American student...something that will be a fond memory for many days to come.
We talk a lot about how Belmont is a place to prepare students to take their talents, skills, and knowlege and intersect that experience with the needs of the world. If ever there is a picture of what that means, this is it. Two people, struggling to carry on a conversation, ask questions, or share their faith...are joined by someone with the skills to connect the two worlds and bring them closer together. Shandra, in her quiet manner, steps up and does this for the Belmont team at every place we stop we make in Venezuela. It is awesome to watch and greatly appreciated by the team.