As most of you know Chuck recently had his final language and culture evaluation in the Ga’dang language. And the results showed that he is at the NTM required level for preparing Bible lessons, translating scripture and teaching. What an accomplishment this is!
Do you know how huge this is? I was reminded by a friend that this is a big deal. We have been working towards this goal for what seems like forever. I, then read an email from one of our language consultants explaining why we have these levels and without them this important message could very easily get confused or missed.
Here is what George Olson wrote:
I came across this sign the other day out in Manila:
Think about that for a moment and see if you can figure out what it means!
Before I get into the sign, I want to say something quickly about what we see happening around us in the world today. As we know, the world is in turmoil. The news the last few days has been all about a “global market meltdown,” or something of the sort. Terrorists are increasing their attacks, our own countries are trying to force us to compromise a biblical view of morality, and things are looking to change in a great way.
I want to mention before I say anything else, that in these times of uncertainty, we have a certain and sure hope anchored on the reality of Christ’s resurrection from the grave, and promise of an eternal hope in the life to come. We should not forget that! And also, we can remain thankful, that we are able to access this message of eternal hope, read it for ourselves, and put our faith and trust in it. We are blessed to have this message clearly communicated in our own language.
Now as to the sign, I got to thinking about all these things, and I saw it as a perfect illustration of why clear communication is so important. This sign has a primary message – “No Parking.” This sign also has a secondary message – the reason why there is no parking allowed there is because it is a “Dipping Area.” Umm… come again?
Clearly there are some problems with the secondary message! First of all, it is confusing. Nobody really knows what a “dipping area” is. Secondly, it is meaningless, for the same reason. Third, it being confusing and meaningless makes it a distraction to the primary meaning, which makes it easier for people to ignore the overall message. I have observed people who, after seeing signs like this, will simply get out of their car, move the barrier, and park there.
So ultimately, having a secondary message which is unclear distracts from and confuses the primary message, reducing its effectiveness. And in this case, an incorrect use of a common language is the medium which brings about the confusion, rather than clarifying things. The authors of the sign knew at least some English, but not enough to communicate effectively. The result was instead confusion and a muddled message.
This is a perfect illustration of why clear communication of the Gospel message is so important, and why we strive to be as excellent as possible in our acquisition of the language of the people to whom we will be ministering. We don’t want our message to be confusing or muddled – we want it to be clear and precise. Mastering the language to a high level of excellence is a key part of our work in bringing the Gospel to the tribes.
This is why we are doing what we are doing.
Even though this language learning process has taken what seems like forever for some (even for us somedays). We know without a doubt that it is important to make sure we share the message with clarity to the Ga’dang people. Their salvation is worth the time and effort that we have put into learning their language.
Thank you for praying for us. Continue to pray for Chuck as he begins working on Bible lessons. Pray also that the Lord would continue to work in the hearts of the Ga’dang people so they will be ready to receive His message.