If you are wondering about the title of this post, it says, “I need/want to speak Telugu well” in Telugu. Telugu is one of the languages spoken in the BELC and is the language spoken in the CLCI. It is the language of the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
The other main language in the BELC (and the language of the state of Tamil Nadu where I live) is Tamil. Tamil is related to Telugu (like Spanish and French are related), but is written with a totally different writing system: நான் தமிழ் நல்லா பேசனும் (“I want/need to speak Tamil well”).
Over the past two years I have been working on learning Telugu, as that is what a majority of the men we work with speaks. My progress has been slower than expected. Staying in Chennai, where they speak Tamil, has also not helped.
I have also started to learn some Tamil (although many of the security guards at my apartment complex are from the North and speak Hindi, another completely different language – मुझे हिंदी बोलने की ज़रूरत है), but it is difficult to find time to focus on both Telugu and Tamil.
The men here try to encourage me by telling me about Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg, one of the first Lutheran Missionaries to Southern India. He came, learned Tamil, translated the Bible into Tamil and even wrote classical Tamil poetry. I guess if he could do it… although it seems like he set the bar awfully high. Thanks Ziegenbalg!
While I may not be writing poetry anytime soon, by God’s grace I have made progress (albeit slowly in my mind). Please pray for continued progress in both Telugu and Tamil. God has already used my language abilities to help encourage and build up the men here, but I still have a longs ways to go before I can teach in Telugu or Tamil without a translator. Being able to do so would allow me to teach a lot more efficiently and cover more in the time available.
మీ ప్రర్ధనలకు వందనాలు (Thank you for your prayers)!