Language learning is ministry

Since quite a few years back I have been convinced that learning the language of the people where you live is a ministry in itself. It shows that you actually care about them and that you are willing to be in a humble position. Besides the obvious fact that it really helps in making communication possible of course. But now when we are in the middle of our language learning it can sometimes feel very dreary. The road to actually knowing a language is long. The fact that the language happens to be Thai doesn’t make it any shorter. Somebody told me it takes seven years of studies before you “know” thai. Who knows?

It's never to early to start learning a third language. Rasmus and Lucas are visited by a Thai tutor and are having a blast learning her language through games and lots of laughter..
It’s never to early to start learning a third language. Rasmus and Lucas are visited by a Thai tutor and are having a blast learning her language through games and lots of laughter..
So even though language learning is essential, it’s not always very exciting and we miss seeing clear results of our labour. That’s why I was very encouraged the other day when Rob came home. He had been at the celebration of Create International’s 25th anniversary and brought home an information booklet including very clear results from their work, film making. It was so wonderful to read about the fruit they are seeing, and to know that we will see similar things shortly! In August Rob will get a sneak peak when he attends their 6 week seminar in film making. He will be able to use the Thai he has learned when the film team heads down to a small village on the southern-most tip of Thailand to make a film for an unreached Buddhist people group. Below are a couple of the testimonies from field workers who have used these films made by Create International’s staff.

In case you missed it, Create International is part of Youth With A Mission. This is where Rob – and possibly myself – will work after our language studies. They produce evangelistic films for specific people groups, in their own language and relevant to the context of that particular culture. I hope you will be as encouraged as I was.

“As a result of distributing 4 million copies of the Mandarin evangelistic and discipleship film, we were told that 10 000 new churches were established.”

– National workers in China

“In North India, over 600 fellowships in four different Muslim unreached people groups were established, in one group alone 7000 awaited baptism-and they were all using Create International’s contextual gathering film to do this.”

– Paul Eshleman, VP Global Coverage in Campus Crusade for Christ

I know, I know. You can’t measure success in numbers – the most important is our obedience to the Lord – but isn’t it great to read about what God is doing?! We look forward to being part of this good work in a few months. Until then, we will keep doing what we know will generate fruit in the long run, studying Thai.

Until next time! (Pope-gan-na!)

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