Imagine giving a speech to over a thousand people. Everyone is watching your every move and listening intently to each word. Now imagine doing it in a foreign language. Soon I will be giving farewell speeches to my students, co-workers, and church members. To say that I am nervous is an understatement because Japanese has always been very difficult for me.
I want to do my best because I think of my farewell speeches as goodbye presents to the people who I’ve grown to care about most. My Japanese teacher helped me prepare the speeches, so I want to give a big “Arigatougozaimasu” to Fukuoka Sensei.
Recently, I had an idea that could help with the speech-making process. I had the privilege of coaching two of my students for an English speech recitation contest this year, and they were amazing! They worked really hard and improved a lot. English was a foreign language for them, so they understand the difficulties of the task ahead of me. I laid down my pride and insecurities and asked them to become my speech coaches.
|Hanako and Ren, my speech coaches|
Please pray for peace and ease for me as I give speeches in Japanese. I pray that I can be a blessing to those listening to my speeches, just like they have been blessings to me. On a side note, I am trying to avoid thinking about the fact that farewell speeches actually mean that I'm leaving and saying goodbye. If I think about that part of the situation too much, I might cry during my speeches. So, I'm also praying for strength during an emotionally difficult time.