So with the team recently coming back from Haiti, and reading more about Mosaic Village I decided to see what resources were available online for learning Haitian Creole. Don't freak out, we're not moving to Haiti. Actually I haven't even felt a call to be part of a trip to Haiti. But I also haven't heard God say "Oh by the way, Josh, I'm never gonna call you to do anything in Haiti so you can just mark that one off the list."
My point is, I checked it out because knowing a language is simply equipping yourself in case God calls you somewhere. Especially for us because we know that we will be involved with missions at some point. I've seen on the website for Doctors Without Borders the need for French speaking aids for work in Chad, Niger, DRC, and Haiti and it got me thinking. So then when I saw that the Hendricks were learning Creole prior to their move to Haiti I decided to see what resources were available.
The first place I turned was to Rosetta Stone. I could never actually afford Rosetta Stone, but from what I understand it is the best and fastest language learning software and the Texas A&M libraries have copies of Rosetta Stone in several languages. So I looked, but they do not have a version for Haitian Creole. My next attempt was the TAMU libraries to see if they had RS in French. Haitian Creole is based on French with a mix of African languages and some others as well. So French would be the next best thing. Unfortunately TAMU libraries did not have French Rosetta Stone. I made a purchase suggestion that they buy it, since they do have Spanish, German, Italian, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese. But that could take a while, so I started looking online.
And that's when I found Byki. Byki is a division of Transparent Languages and offers a lot of different languages. For all of their languages they have the "express" version, which is very basic and the "deluxe" version which is more in depth. The great thing about this is that the "express" version is free. If you decide you like their method and want a full knowledge of whichever language, you buy the deluxe version ($50-70 as opposed to $130 for lesson 1 with RS). I'm really excited because they have Afrikaans, a derivitive of Dutch/German used Namibia and South Africa. But that's off topic. The best thing I found though, is that right now the full amount of resources for Haitian Creole are available for free. That's right. For freeeeeeeeeee (thank you Bedtime Stories).
So if you're interested in learning Haitian Creole head over to Byki. You can either download the express version of Haitian Creole which right now has the full thing, or you can register for Byki Online which allows you to use the same materials from the web without using hard drive space. Byki also has several Twitter accounts for daily phrases in some of the languages. Sorry I know it sounds like I'm gushing but I'm really excited.
I think everyone should have to learn more than one language. I really do. Go to Europe or Africa and as any random kid how many languages they know. They may not be perfectly fluent, but I'll bet they can converse in at least two if not three or four. Heck, go down to south Texas where the population is mostly Hispanic. In America, most of us don't live near an international border so we get this haughty attitude of "If you're gonna live in this country, learn the language!" That's an acceptable attitude if you aren't a Christian. I'm not saying we shouldn't have an official language, but as a Christian we are called to look out for aliens and treat them like any other person. It's hardly Christ-like to have the attitude "I'll share Jesus with you if you'll learn English first!"
Don't get me started on the political hot-button issue of immigration. If you really want to know my opinion I'll talk with you about it. But this is not the venue. Basically I think everyone should obey the established laws. That said, people from another country are still PEOPLE. Not trash. Not dogs. They need Jesus just like we do.
So check out Byki, download some software or follow a twitter account, learn a language, and be equipped for God to use you in a cool way. I don't think Byki is a Christian organization I just suggest them because they have free resources. If you have resources that allow you to still be wise with your money go for it. See if your library has a copy of Rosetta Stone or other tools. If you know anybody that works for the DoD and had to learn a language they probably have a copy. It doesn't matter what you use, the point is to let God use you.