I’ve been in a lot of classes, but the one I had three weeks ago was very different. Most of the time in school you learn things for tests and general knowledge or to be known for some time in the future. But this was different. It was a week of intensive class to be put into practice in the real world starting in a few weeks. It’s a weird feeling, knowing that what I’m about to do with what I learned in class isn’t just an exercise or practice, but real live research that makes a difference in the lives of real live people.
The first week of September I was in Tanzania for People Group Assessment (PGA) training. No, PGA doesn’t have to do with golf and we didn’t even see a golf course while we were there. Instead, we learned about criteria to look at in a people group to try to determine whether or not they would be considered “unreached” or “least-reached” (which is probably more politically correct now) and if they would be a people group among whom NTM sees a need to do church planting work. But we didn’t just look at criteria, since we also learned what to do to measure those criteria by doing research online and taking a trip among the people themselves. This includes such things as interviewing missionaries and pastors who know about them, doing multilingualism questionnaires, talking to government officials and village chiefs, etc. It was good, but each day my brain was so tired and full!
There were three of us from West Africa there. The next week we taught what we learned to others from West Africa who weren’t able to come to the training. (Yup, learn it one week and teach it the next. We had to make sure we were paying attention at the training!) Last week we then focused on finding out what we could about a people group in a West African country by doing research online, reading what has already been written about them, and talking to an SIL missionary who is working on a Bible translation there. (Yes, they are getting a Bible translation but there is no Bible teaching that is going along with that yet.)
Last Thursday early morning we left for a few day trip down to that country to see what the reality actually looked like on the ground. I’ll write more about that in another post soon. This week I’ve worked on compiling the information we learned from that trip. Now in a few days I’ll return to My Country (hooray!) where I’ll get to continue learning Jula and culture there as well as get ready for a long PGA trip we’re planning on taking in My Country in November/December.
Yes, these next few months will be very busy and I would love your prayers. I’m excited, but also know that I will really need your prayers since it is “for real.” Thanks for your key part in what God is doing here!