|Give thanks to the Lord with us that we were able to get together in person last month for our annual Spanish Language Resources Team Meetings. Due to the Covid-19 response measures, it had been two years since we’d met last.|
We’re not a big team, in fact this photo is a bit deceptive. Only Duff and I are full time, Jim is half-time and Jerry is our supervisor. He and his wife, Joyce, are the International Literacy Consultant Coordinators, but he provides our team with a bit of oversight and lots of encouragement.
Betty, on the far right, heads up the Portuguese Language Resources team. They sat in with us because we share the region and a similar ministry. Her husband, Tim, was our team supervisor before Jerry. They worked with a people group in Bolivia in their younger years and still help out that tribal church, as well as doing church-planting consulting and helping train Latin American missionary candidates.
Interesting note — we’re nearly all MK’s (missionary kids). Jim and Tim grew up in Bolivia, Betty in Brazil, Duff in the Philippines and I in South America. Jerry is from Ohio. 😊
Thanks to our newly-acquired video-conferencing skills, our regional director, Juan Horta, was able to sit in virtually from Colombia for the morning sessions. We also had an hour-long visit with Martha Torres, who contributes what she can as she struggles with the long-term effects of a stroke.
One of the major topics of our meetings this year was the development of the new generation of our mission’s Culture and Language Acquisition (CLA) program, named “Engage,” along with an accompanying smartphone app called “Stages.”
The app, which is already in Beta testing, is an amazing data-gathering tool – for recording language, taking pictures and videos – and a powerful organizer, helping our church planters track the tasks they’ve accomplished and reminding them of what they need to do next in order to learn the people’s language and understand their cultural worldview.
It will be our team’s job to translate into Spanish the manuals and the software text for both “Engage” and “Stages” so that our Latin American co-workers can use these tools in their ministry of cross-cultural church planting.
I won’t bore you with all the topics we covered in two-and-a-half days of meetings (although I could, since I took many pages of notes). Suffice it to say that, once again, it was a big morale boost to learn of the opportunities that lie ahead and to look back on the road we´ve traveled by God’s enabling grace.
Thank you so much for your faithful and loving support of our efforts to provide valuable resource materials to help equip our Spanish-speaking ministry partners.
Your partners in His service,
Steve & Eida Irwin
Spanish Language Resources