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Habla espanol?

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By Ben Carlson

If Tony Andrade has his way, the language barrier between English- and Spanish-speaking people in Anderson County will soon go the way of the dodo bird.

Andrade, pastor of Family Worship Center on Frankfort Road in Lawrenceburg, will offer free Spanish lessons beginning March 2 at the church.

A native of the predominantly Hispanic town of Seguin, Texas, about 25 miles outside of San Antonio, Andrade is bilingual and says his goal is to help bridge the communication gap.

"The Hispanic population is the fastest growing culture in our community," he said. "There's a problem with communication with this group, both ways."

The idea to teach Spanish was triggered by an upcoming church mission trip to Mexico.

"None of the people going speak Spanish," he said. "They asked if I'd teach them, and my wife asked why not open it up to the community and help anybody who wants to learn.

"I thought that was an excellent idea."

The idea also fulfills what Andrade said is the church's ongoing vision to find ways to make a difference in the community.

"We want to give back to the community we live in," he said. "It's our way of thanking Anderson County for allowing us to serve the community.

"This is a way to say thank you in a tangible way."

The lessons are designed for beginners, but will serve as a refresher for those who have had Spanish lessons in the past but no longer retain the language.

"If you don't use it, you'll lose it," said Andrade, who said his own skills diminished somewhat when his family moved from Texas to Michigan.

"A lot of people say they took Spanish in high school and have lost it. I want to give it back to them."

Classes will be each Sunday from 5 to 6 p.m. through May 25. For more information, call Family Worship Center at 839-8182 or Andrade at 502-600-8182.