Our ministry continues as a new semester begins at the New Tribes Missionary Training Center, located on the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri. Missionary candidates from all over the States, as well as some from other parts of the world, come to spend time in intensive training for cross-cultural life and ministry.
Our unique training program focuses on equipping the candidates for living and ministering in cross-cultural settings. Some of the topics covered in classes include: world view, church planting, teamwork, culture and language acquisition, phonetics and phonemics, literacy and family relationships. Most of the staff have had overseas life experience in many of these areas, which enables them to identify with and prepare the students.
Our mission has grown concerned with the increasing attrition rate of our overseas missionaries over the past number of years. This has brought about some serious assessment of our training program and a desire to develop the course in a way that will better equip the students for life overseas. Real life experiences to prepare this younger generation of missionaries has been
recognized as lacking.
So starting with this semester, in addition to the classes taught, we are trying to incorporate more cultural experiences that should give the students a taste of their life to come. The first cultural event was set up for the students as they arrived on campus to begin the semester. It provided a setting very similar to what many will face as they enter another country, including a foreign language! Many of the students were confronted with potential areas for growth as emotions and attitudes, both positive and negative, were brought to the surface. There was good discussion and debrief afterwards, and most students appreciated the experience and now feel better equipped to deal with “the real thing” when they face it. We had the opportunity to be involved in this first experience and we look forward to being involved in more of these cultural events as they are incorporated in the course.
This semester, John will teach three classes—Learning Styles, Biblical Parenting and Families in Transition. Besides preparing for the classes and teaching them, he also has been involved in helping the teaching staff improve their classes, and he spends a lot of time corresponding with missionary educators in various locations around the world. Melanie continues to help with our department’s finances, helping John with things like correspondence and grading homework for classes, and doing coffee break for about 60+ people one day a week. We enjoy the interaction with the students and fellow staff both inside and outside of the classroom.
We are excited to be here at the training center and we feel confident of God’s direction in leading us here. For us personally, our vision continues to be to have a part of God’s work in reaching unreached people groups. Considering there are still over 2,100 language groups without God’s Word, there is still a lot of work to be done! We have seen how God has used our 20 years of overseas life and ministry experience to benefit our involvement in helping train the next generation of missionaries. We count it a privilege to serve the Lord here and to have a part in God’s work.