As part of our family worship time each day, we spend a little time memorizing Scripture verses in the local language. Recently we worked on Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." This is a verse with reasonably simple vocabulary, and seemed to be a nice, simple choice. However, it served to highlight just how hard the language is. Here is a literal translation of the word order as it appears in the local language:
"Because I the gospel from am not ashamed. It, who believes every person's, first before the Jew's, later however the Greek's salvation for God's power is."
Of course, we can't translate literally everything we read and hear; we have to work to understand sentences as a whole. The real difficulty comes when we have to construct a sentence ourselves. We want to start with the subject, then add a verb. Unfortunately, if we say things in the same order we would use in English, it would sound as strange to them as their version of Romans 1:16 sounds to us--just a bunch of random words strung together that mean nothing.
Please continue to pray for our ability to advance with language study. It will take a lifetime!