We've lived here for almost 6 months and lately have been reflecting on how valuable it is to participate in the new cultural context you're in, instead of force your old context into your new one. At first we tried not expect people we met to speak our language and asked if we could be a part of the Sunday lunch rotation. This was not a comfortable thing for us at first. We sat around the table, many Sundays, just listening and not being able to contribute at all, but enjoyed their company none the less. We asked people to come into our home, and served them French food, unless it was requested of us to serve American - which was the case! And while it was highly uncomfortable to speak French in the beginning, because we couldn't form great sentences or use it correctly, we tried, and I think that goes a long long way.
Now, some of the leaders in the church have asked me to start an English class - most of them have only studied it and not had enough opportunities to really use it. But, I would've never offered to do this class upon arrival because it would've felt like I was forcing my context onto theirs. We needed to dedicate all that we were to being in their context, partaking in their customs, speaking their language (or at least try), cooking their food, etc... until we received a new sign that they are ready to be vulnerable with us, in the case of speaking English, or ask us to share our culture with them. It is invited, not forced. These signs mean our relationships are deepening, and it means they are moving into that realm of trusting and respecting us. I think those are some of the huge blessings of "putting your time in."