Missionaries who desire to reach an Unreached People Group face a daunting task. Not only must they live in an unfamiliar context and endure an extreme (read: hot!) climate, they must learn an unknown language and culture on their own.
They need help.
Who You Gonna Call?
That’s where guys like Bill come in. We jokingly call them “Missionary Language Nerds.” They are actually a bit strange—they really love languages and language learning (note: many people don’t!) They are the language learning consultants and coaches who help missionaries to succeed.
And this is how God has designed the church. We are a body, each with different gifts. We complement and help one another.
But guess what—even the helpers need help! It’s a huge challenge to help missionaries to learn unknown languages. Each missionary is different; each language is different; and of course, the consultant often does not know the languages the missionaries are trying to learn.
So the helpers need to help each other.
ICLL… Just What The Doctor Ordered
In April, we were able to attend the ICLL (International Congress on Language Learning) in Colorado. Bill was in heaven… not only because we were in the Rocky Mountains in the springtime, but because he got to spend a week with 84 other missionary language nerds who are on the same page as him, who think like he does, who are facing the same challenges.
Since 2001, we’ve been able to attend ICLL 5 times (it is held every three years.) Networking at these congresses is always encouraging and helpful, and Bill was on the planning committee for over 14 years. The language consultants converge, learn from each other, and are able to borrow ideas and solutions that have worked for others.
Bill presented two talks at the ICLL: How to Help Mixed-Culture Teams, and How to Help Non-Western Language Learners. Both of these were well-received and generated lots of helpful discussion. He learned from other presenters’ sessions dealing with aptitude, coaching methods, and more.
14 attendees at ICLL were from New Tribes Mission, so Bill took the opportunity to get them together a few times to get their input on the international language learning training materials he is developing.
And while we were there, Bill was able to get a committee together to plan the 5th ACLL (Asian Congress on Language Learning) where we will gather language nerds from all over Asia to network and help each other.
Missionary Language Nerds. We help missionaries communicate Christ clearly.
…and we help each other.
And you help us too, through your prayers and partnering with our ministry.
Leave a Reply