I realized yesterday when I was talking to my mom and she asked the big question that not everyone has heard the official news yet: Yes, we received a letter from the IMB when we arrived home from Boston and we have been approved to be missionaries to Iceland. So now it has been confirmed and we are getting serious about renting our house and applying for a VISA.
Today I also made a decision to start teaching Haley and Darcy Icelandic. I have been fighting this for a long time. Instead of teaching them the language that they will be exposed to in 5 months, I have been immersing them in Spanish videos, Spanish music, Spanish literature, and Spanish conversation. Ever since I learned to speak Spanish in middle school, I have had countless opportunities to use it. Kids learn languages so quickly, so I am trying to give them the opportunity to become fluent early on. For the last six months I’ve been making excuses for why I can’t/won’t teach them Icelandic (I don’t speak it myself, only 300,000 people in the world speak it and it won’t be that useful in the long run, they can teach their little friends English instead of learning Icelandic), but last night I came to the realization that I am doing them an injustice not preparing them for this new environment. Every single child will speak Icelandic (they don’t learn English until they are 9) and I want to give them an opportunity to make friends.
I got out my Teach Yourself Icelandic textbook and started going over phrases with Kitty Ashley and Haley today (while Darcy slept in till 1:00 p.m. recovering from a cold). I spent maybe 3 minutes on introductory conversation phrases, so I was shocked when I overheard Haley Jane and Kitty Ashley conversing later. “Hvað heitir þu?” Haley asked as kitty responded in her high-pitched voice, “Eg heiti Kitty Ashley.”
I was floored. I have been afraid of confusing them with too many languages, but they are actually able to create more categories of information and distinguish between them (Or so say the linguists). One thing from our conference that really struck me was that God has not just called Colby and I to be missionaries, but he has called Haley Jane and Darcy Lane as well. God is going to use them as well in special ways during our time there, and I guess it’s my job to start preparing them for that now. If anyone happens to come across any Icelandic teaching material for children, let us know!