If anyone asked me for my opinion (like I'd wait to be asked!) on what it takes to be a career missionary, I would answer, "Blood, sweat and tears!" It takes years to learn a language and a culture well. A language is picked up long before the culture is truly understood. In most cases, the missionary can attend a language school to learn a rudimentary knowledge of the language, but there is no classroom to learn the culture. When learning a tribal language, one must become childlike and follow people around and try to imitate sounds without a clue as to their meaning. Eventually, one will begin to hear the different individual sounds and can transcribe,well, that's another whole story! It is much more time-consuming and the culture, of course, is totally alien to the western mind.