Friday, August 15, 2014

Missions on the Amazon: A Review of Wherever the River Runs

Kelly Minter has a gift for describing her experiences.  You will feel like you went along for the ride when she describes her first trip on the Amazon River and many other experiences among the people who live there.  She has a desire to share her love of the Amazon and its people, as well as God's great love for them.

Add this book to your library of mission stories at home and at church.  Comment on this blog post by August 20 and get an entry in a drawing to win a free copy of Wherever the River Runs by Kelly Minter

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Consider Learning German

German is the primary language used in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. It is also an important secondary language throughout Europe. While fewer high schools offer German than Spanish or French, many colleges do have German classes. The College Board lists 473 colleges that offer a major in German (2011).

Similarities between English and German
English descended from Germanic languages, although many other languages also contributed to modern English. German vocabulary is relatively easy to learn because many words differ by only a few letters; for example, the English "dr" becomes "tr" in German. Here are some basic German vocabulary words and the English equivalents:
trinken: to drink,
danken: to thank,
tanzen: to dance.
Germans also have an apparent love of long, compound nouns. Instead of creating new words, Germans may simply combine several words already in use. An example is Ansichtspostkarte, which means picture post card. While these extra-long words may look intimidating at first glance, the fact that these words are made of smaller words you might already know is yet another aid to rapid acquisition of vocabulary.
Challenges of Learning German
German has some significant differences from English. Like many other languages, German word endings change for different declensions: nominative, dative, genitive and accusative. The definite article ("the" in English) and the indefinite article ("a" or "an" in English) depend upon the gender of a noun. English nouns do not have gender for grammatical purposes, so this is a new concept for the native speaker of English.
The Defense Language Aptitude Battery, a test used by the United States government to select candidates for language training, gives a score that is used to determine the appropriate language difficulty level for a potential student. German is in Category II, which means it is considered more difficult than French or Spanish, but less difficult than the Slavic and Asian languages (Knight, n.d.).
Basic German vocabulary is not difficult for those who already speak English. Those who wish to quickly learn useful phrases for European travel can certainly succeed with a good self-teaching resource or continuing education class. Learning to read scholarly German fluently, however, requires years of careful study. German is worth consideration as a college foreign language option because of the significance of German contributions to business, science, and the humanities. The language of Beethoven, Einstein, and Goethe can be a part of your life as well.
The College Board. (2011). Find a college: Major: German. Accessed January 7, 2011.

Knight, J. (n.d.). Language Training and Skills. Accessed January 8, 2011.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Reasons to Learn ASL

Most hearing people learn ASL to better communicate with a Deaf family member, friend, or co-worker. ASL is better learned within the context of personal relationships, not just by taking a class. There are regional variations in ASL, just as there are dialects in English and other spoken languages, so it is important to practice signing skills with people who are fluent in the ASL used in your community. Learning ASL from the Deaf also helps you understand Deaf culture, the context within which ASL is used.
Some people learn ASL for professional reasons. Perhaps you want to teach Deaf students or become an ASL interpreter. Interpreters are needed in many different settings: educational, medical, legal, and religious. To become certified as an interpreter requires much practice and rigorous testing, as well as continuing education. For more information about becoming a certified interpreter, contact the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID).
If you have had trouble learning a foreign language such as Spanish or French, try ASL instead. If your primary learning style is visual or kinesthetic, you may find you have a knack for ASL. Visual languages use the eyes and the body rather than the mouth and the ears. Courses in ASL may meet the modern foreign language requirements for a college student and can open the door to another culture right here in your own country.
One more reason to learn ASL is simply because it is a beautiful language. As your language skills develop, you may find ASL truly "speaks" to you in a way that spoken language does not. Some interpreters enjoy the challenge of translating songs into a visual language like ASL. Many Deaf enjoy ASL poetry and drama, as well as signed music.
Whatever your reasons, learning ASL is something you will enjoy for a lifetime. This beautiful language and the associated Deaf culture will enrich your education and your life.
Gallaudet University. (2010). Frequently Asked Questions: Deaf-related. Accessed January 6, 2011 at
Nakamura, K. (2008). About American Sign Language. Accessed January 6, 2011 at

American Sign Language (ASL) is the language used by Deaf people in the United States and in English-speaking parts of Canada (Nakamura, 2008). Not to be confused with Signed Exact English (SEE) or the Manual Alphabet, ASL is a distinct language with its own grammar and syntax. Many colleges recognize ASL as meeting foreign language requirements (Gallaudet, 2010), since ASL is not a signed form of English, but a different language altogether.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Practical Foreign Language Skills

There are many ways to incorporate foreign language practice into your daily routine. Have fun while increasing your vocabulary.

Books and Magazines
Foreign language books may be available at your public library. If not, check online sources for books in many languages. For beginners, choose children's books or books with English text on one side and another language on the other. The American Bible Society has a selection of Bibles in many languages. If you are a more advanced student, look for online resources such as a newspaper or e-magazine from a country where your second language is spoken. If you travel, check airport stores for print magazines in your chosen language. You may also ask a friend who travels abroad to bring back a newspaper or magazine for you. A dictionary will come in handy as you stretch yourself by tackling reading beyond a textbook or phrase book.
Music and Movies
Play a CD in the car or load some music on your MP-3 player in a foreign language. Even a DVD you already own can be a foreign language resource if you are learning Spanish or French; simply go to "settings" on the DVD menu and select Spanish or French as the spoken language and/or subtitle language, then enjoy your movie.
Human Interaction
If there are nearby businesses or communities where you can practice conversational skills in your chosen language with native speakers, take advantage of the opportunity. Attend a worship service in American Sign Language, Korean, or Spanish. Frequent restaurants with staff who will patiently listen as you order in Spanish or Chinese. Visit an elderly neighbor who is bilingual.

Opportunities to practice your skills in a foreign language abound when you know where to look.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Rain, Reign: A Children's Novel for all Ages

Rain, Reign by Ann M. Martin

I highly recommend this book for all children.  The story is written from the viewpoint of Rose, a girl with Asperger's, and gives insight into the thinking patterns of those who are not typical.  The story includes classmates who are mean and some who are nice--as well as a dog who brings them all together.

Rose is easy to love.  Her home is not ideal and some of her habits can be annoying, but she has a heart of gold.  Her love for Rain, a dog her father brought home in a storm, and her systematic search for Rain when she gets lost in a storm show the depth of her character.  Her character is really tested when she learns that Rain has a microchip.  Rose goes out of her way to find Rain's owners and return her to them.  I was in tears at the lessons a child can teach.

The author has produced a great novel for children--and for adults who work with children. It will be published October 7, 2014.  I received a free review copy through NetGalley.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Another Book Giveaway? Yes!

Persecuted by Robin Parrish is an action/suspense novel that could well be taken out of newspaper headlines in the near future.  The First Amendment is under attack, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights.

John Luther must choose to obey God rather than men when a law is passed that limits his television preaching ministry.  Even his friends are urging him to compromise in the name of continuing his ministry.  To John, however, compromise of the gospel message is not an option. When enemies of freedom take their revenge on John, it is unbelievably thorough and vindictive.
John the pastor must become John the detective in order to uncover the extensive conspiracy that is out to destroy him and silence free religious speech in America. The cost will be high, but no higher than martyrs before him have paid.

The movie will be in theaters July 18.  

To enter the drawing for a free copy of Persecuted,  just leave a comment below before July 22. 

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Advocate by Randy Singer: A Book Review

As a modern attorney, Randy Singer does an excellent job writing this fictional account of an advocate (lawyer) in the Roman Empire.  Historical fiction set at the time of Christ includes a believable story that incorporates Seneca, Pilate, Nero, vestal virgins, gladiators, and martyrs.  Singer’s main character is a fictional version of Theophilus, to whom the actual Luke addressed his account of the life of Christ and the birth of the Church.

Singer has written a page-turner that captures the spirit of the early church and the price they paid for following Jesus.