Tim & Stacy Reese

Attending the Roca Blanca Spanish School has been one of the most important steps for my family during our journey as missionaries. The school’s curriculum placed us on a steady course through grammatical levels and it progresses logically, each level building off the one before it. This ensures focused time spent on each verb tense, and in the upper levels the grammar that really becomes essential to clear and accurate communication. The course material does progress quickly and it can be quite challenging at times depending on one’s learning style and ability to adapt to the pace of the coursework, but it is greatly rewarding to be able to look back at the progress made at the end of each level and see how all the pieces fit together.

The staff and facilitators at the school are fantastic. They are patient, friendly, and work hard to challenge the students’ growth. One thing I appreciated most was the fact that most of my classes were led by local Mexicans. Language and culture cannot be separated. Learning language is experiencing the culture—the history, the customs, the beliefs—of the people who natively speak the language. No learning app or textbook can replace the insight the facilitators bring to the program as cultural insiders, giving life to the language beyond the grammar, illustrating not just how to say the words well, but which words are the most appropriate with respect to the culture.

The facility itself is also wonderful. We’ve been able to watch the growth of the school firsthand, having started off participating in morning worship in a completely different building and now finishing up our classes in a newly constructed addition. It’s an exciting thing to see God bless the school with growth and expansion.

With three kids (12yr., 9yr., 7yr.), we knew that the transition would be challenging for our family. While we have had many short-term cross-cultural experiences, this was our first time living outside of the US. It hasn’t been easy and there have been times when we struggled to balance the stress of language learning with the stress of being a family in a new culture. But God has shown Himself in many ways and the challenges we faced were as much a part of the learning process as the scheduled class time and homework.  We are immersed in a Mexican community. Outside of our fellow classmates and some of the staff and resident missionaries on the base, no one else speaks English. It can feel isolating, especially at the beginning when we only had the most basic Spanish vocabulary. But now, we recognize that the isolation has given us the best opportunity to use the Spanish we’ve learned and see where we’re falling short in our ability to communicate. We shop in the local stores in Spanish, we speak to the taxi drivers that take us to and from local stops in Spanish, and most importantly we worship in Spanish. We’ve greatly enjoyed the opportunity to sing, to learn from the pastors, and to pray in a new language. God is doing great things and His Spirit is moving amongst the people—worshipping with them is a small taste of heaven, a glimpse of what every knee bowing, and every tongue confessing will be like.

Listen to Manuel Sarabio


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