The world is a big place. And Christ’s command to make disciples of all nations is a big task. We can easily feel overwhelmed by it.
Can we do it? Yes!
We have his command, and his promises. The church can move forward with confidence; undaunted, and full of hope.
How can we do it?
First of all, someone needs to go. And they need training. Our mandate is to “make disciples.” That requires a high level of competency in the language. It requires deep relationships built on trust and cultural sensitivity. We are excited in our new ministry phase to be working to provide training for the wave of non-Western missionaries God is raising up to reach the Unreached.
We are often asked: “How can you teach people a language you don’t know?”
That’s a good question. Answer: we don’t!
Bill teaches missionaries language learning principles and techniques they can used to learn ANY language, anywhere in the world. There are challenges involved in this kind of training, but it’s not as hard as you might think.
But there is another aspect of our ministry which is actually more difficult, and harder to explain: Language assessment.
Missionaries need to know when they are “good enough” in their language proficiency to begin a ministry of evangelism and discipling, teaching deep spiritual truths. How can they know? And how can their mission leaders and consultants evaluate their progress?
If you speak Spanish, you could evaluate how well I speak Spanish. But when missionaries are learning unknown languages, we face a problem!
For example, an Indian missionary is learning Kannada, the language of the Adi Karnataka, an unreached Hindu group with a population of nearly 3.5 million. How can her mission leaders evaluate her fluency when they themselves do not speak Kannada?
There are ways to do this. Back in 2004, Bill worked with others in NTM to develop a whole system of techniques for doing this kind of evaluation. It takes time. And patience. And diligence. And the consultants must first be well-trained to do this kind of “assessing the unknown.”
Help is needed
Some ministry opportunities are coming out of our recent Training Forum in Manila. (We attended this forum last March) Right now Bill has been invited to help some consultants in Southeast Asia learn to do this kind of evaluation. He would be training both Europeans and some Asians, guiding them in how to evaluate both Western and non-Western missionaries who are learning the as-yet unknown languages of unreached people groups.
Please pray with us as work through the details of this ministry trip, and as Bill develops training materials in simple English which might be more easily translated into the language of the Asian consultants. When this trip gets confirmed, we will try to plan some other ministry travel and events since we’ll already be in S.E. Asia. Lord willing, we’d also want to get to Palawan to teach the Palawano church leaders.
Everyone deserves to hear in their Heart Language…
…and we want to help the messengers communicate clearly!
*image used by permission of IMB (Intl Mission Board), imb.org