Learning language well enough to teach deep Biblical truths is a long and sometimes uncomfortable process.
Photo of a missionary in Colombia.

Why Learn The Language?

Learning language well enough to teach deep Biblical truths is a long and sometimes uncomfortable process. But doing so is imperative in order for the missionary to communicate God’s Word effectively in the heart language of a people group.

From Feeling Foolish To Fluent

Though language learning never ends, eventually the missionary comes to a point of language proficiency. Like Del Griffith. Del read his recent French language evaluation and was thrilled. 

"After two years of grinding it out day in and day out, sounding like a fool, making mistake after mistake, being humbled time and time again, it is with joy and a thankful heart that I read these words [of his successful language evaluation]."
He continues, "There are still a few areas I need to continue working on. It will be a lifetime of improving my French."

The Student Becomes The Teacher

But wait. He’s just getting started! Del will now use his ability to speak French to learn another language.

Yes, Del will start the language learning process all over again, this time learning the language of the people he will be teaching and disciplining in the Word.

Pray for the missionaries studying languages to one day see mature believers in every tribe, tongue and nation.
Pray that along the way they will build solid relationships, like Del has with his language helper, Emile. In the end a clear understanding of the language and good relationships are both needed to bring others to a relationship with God.
Read More on Del and Arielle's Blog
Learn More About NTM's Vision and Methods

Prayer points for this week

  • Monday: Our default setting is to bypass the hard stuff—like language-learning and adapting to a new culture—but it can’t be bypassed. Andy Royer, who grew up in Brazil and is back there teaching at the Bible Institute, asks prayer for his wife Sarah as she works through all the "hard stuff." They are trusting the Lord to not just survive this season of their lives, but to thrive in it. Read more ...
  • Tuesday: Overcoming the monotony of the language learning process, dealing with feelings of being overwhelmed, and continually bringing your focus back onto the Lord. These are what AJ and Klarissa Backes face as they move into phase 3 (of four) of the Swahili language program. Pray for them! Read more ...
  • Wednesday: Language study is hard work — even before you juggle it with the responsibilities of being a wife and mother, the medical needs of the villagers, and the many interruptions of life. Pray for missionary Shelly Schafer as she works hard putting in many hours to be prepared to take the phase three (of four) language check. Read more ...
  • Thursday: "Part of our language training is through immersion in the language, vocabulary learning exercises, and conversation. Another part is formal grammar lessons," wrote Brian and Rachel Rich, new missionaries to Brazil. Please pray for Rachel, in particular, as she adjusts to culture and language learning with a new baby. Read more ...
  • Friday: "One year ago ... I had to drag myself out of bed every morning and mentally give myself a pep talk to ... learn the language. ... But, I can converse normally with my Pal friends now," writes missionary Chris Hostetter. Pray for NTM missionaries as they study language. Read more ...

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