Do We Need to Learn Their Language?

For Americans, especially yours truly, learning another language is one of those major challenges of life you take on with zeal — at the beginning.  And then after the hard work sets in to accomplish that task, you start flagging in zeal, at least that’s what happens to me.

Yet our ability as missionaries to both live without stress in another culture, and actually carry out our ministry effectively, demands we learn that language.  How are you doing with that task?

If you are in this boat and need a little motivation, here’s a good article by Tim Herbert to move you in that direction.

Tim is a Chartered Secretary who spent five years working as an administrator in southern Africa and has made numerous short-term missions trips to Africa, Asia and South America, including leading summer teams.  He continues to work with contacts he has made abroad and provides support for them.

Tim is a member of Pavilion Christian Community in Birmingham, England and has been extensively involved with OMF International and other mission organizations.  He also has a variety of roles with Global Connections, the European Evangelical Missionary Association, Member Care Europe, Springdale College: Together in Mission and the Fellowship of Churches of Christ.

keyboardI recently ran into a mission worker (let’s call him Bill, which is not his real name) who had been a mission worker in a foreign country for a couple of years, together with his wife.

Since the language of that country is somewhat complicated, I asked how he was getting on with learning it.  His reply was one I have never before heard:

We didn’t bother with language lessons; we have a full-time interpreter.  If we want to phone out for a pizza, it’s easier to get her to do it.

Many of you will be involuntarily cringing at the very thought of this.  Honestly, it . . .”  (read more . . .)


About Dave Grissen

David & Sheri Grissen spent 44 years in mission and humanitarian aid work. In 2003 they established Life Impact, a ministry of strengthening Christian workers in hosted centers, called Oases. Presently 12 Oases are functioning. In 2016 they started Fund The Ministry to help missionaries create new funding for their ministries. They have five married children and fifteen grandchildren.
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