I sat warily watching the contents in the bowl I was holding.
Although it tasted just fine, it appeared to be moving! What???
No, it wasn’t melting ice cream. …And it wasn’t Rice Krispies going ‘snap, crackle, pop.’ It was a bowl of what I thought to be fresh yogurt. –It was fresh alright, but why was it moving? Was I seeing things?!
Well, the bowl of yogurt I was holding turned out to have a very active culture.
Culture; it’s the element that gives life to actions. –That’s my own definition of the word.
But wait a moment, I’m not talking about the kind of culture we put into the things we make to eat; I’m talking about culture from the standpoint of human behavior and actions.
Culture is worth watching and observing and studying.
As missionaries, we make notes about it, we analyze it, and we dig deep to know all we can about particular habits and traits people exhibit in their day-to-day practices. Why did they do that? What does it mean? For what purpose does a particular action serve? These are some of the questions we ask as we get acquainted with ‘foreign’ cultures. Learning about other cultures can be an eye-opening experience. …And it’s a key factor to understanding language.
The connection between culture and language has been noted as far back as the classical period and probably long before. The ancient Greeks, for example, distinguished between civilized peoples and bárbaros “those who babble”, i.e. those who speak unintelligible languages. The fact that different groups speak different, unintelligible languages is often considered more tangible evidence for cultural differences than other less obvious cultural traits.
New Tribes missionaries all around the world are engaged in an effort to understand the worldview of the people they desire to minister to by studying their language and culture. Our current newsletter will give you some deeper insights about the importance of understanding other cultures and peoples’ belief systems so that we can clearly communicate the message of the Bible in a way that it will be understood by the hearers.
The next time you grab a yogurt from the fridge make sure it’s not moving. …And take a moment to pray for the missionaries you know who are working to understand the language and culture of a particular group. –Just a little reminder that you, too, can have an effective part in advancing the gospel to the lost.
Thank you for your prayers and gifts of support to our ministry.
…And thanks for giving us the opportunity to serve in missions.
Yeah, the hole thru the nose is funny but it’s a reality of animism that binds such dear people in spiritual darkness. This is actually Dave’s PNG ‘papa’… now with the Lord. You’ll get to meet him one day if you know the Lord Jesus as savior.
Our ministry travels as representatives for New Tribes Mission bring us face to face with many facets of missions focus among local churches. One such church that we’ve serviced several times this last year left a huge impact on us from the moment we walked thru the doors.
Scattered along corridors and in hallways throughout the church are large framed art pieces hanging on the walls. Each one bears a colorful portrait of a supported missionary and a brief overview of their ministry. Next to each framed piece is an attractive literature holder with current news updates. There’s another holder with pre-addresses stamped envelopes to encourage church members to write to their missionaries, and still another holder with current printed prayer requests. That kind of encouragement, to a missionary, goes a long way –like saying “sic em” to a dog.
Not only does the decor of the church scream ‘missions interest,’ it is also echoed on the cover of the church bulletin as well as the sign on the lawn. Inside, people chatted about the latest prayer requests from the regions beyond, or passed along items of praise received through weekly correspondence with their missionaries. We were awestruck by such focused vision!
Down the hallway we could hear children singing mission-themed songs. In a nearby classroom teens gathered to plan a mission’s trip, while adults met in prayer for missionaries traveling out to a local outreach that day.
Sunday school started with a focus on the particular mission’s goal of the month and a video/phone call to one of their overseas missionaries. The worship hour included a report of a recent missions venture, and the commissioning of a member, a nurse, going out on a short term trip. Even the music carried the theme of reaching the world with the gospel. The Bible message ‘The Walk of the Believer,’ also included a stimulating mission’s challenge. –Little wonder that this church has sent out so many missionaries.
While the Bible has a lot to say about reaching lost people with the gospel, we believe that missions’ vision is caught, not taught, though it needs to be taught. –We’ve been to places where it isn’t taught at all; therefore, it is not caught.
Our message in recent months has centralized on the element of prayer in missions. Those praying (Matthew 9:38) are the ones going (Matthew 10:1). We trust that many more churches will make the Great Commission a priority of worship. …And in so doing, we can speed the gospel to the unreached peoples of the world.
Isaiah’s life-changing encounter with God, recorded in Isaiah 6, was prefaced by the song of the seraphim crying "Holy, Holy, Holy; the whole earth is filled with His glory" …and then followed by God speaking with himself in asking "Who will I send, and who will go for us?"
But God was not calling Isaiah specifically. Isaiah, intensly atuned to his sinfulness before this Holy God, confesses his sin and moves forward in answering this general call to serve by saying "Here am I, send me."
Two thousand years after the crucifiction & resurrection of Jesus Christ, from the grave, the cclear ommand of Matthew 28:19 & 20 still resounds today "Go into all the world and [as you are going] make disciples (followers) of [from among] ALL nations and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age." …yet we’ve failed to follow His command because we say we have not been called. –But why do we need a call when we have a command?
There are still thousands of language groups who have not heard the good news of the gospel. Is it their fate or is it our failure to go to them with this life changing message?
Someone said "When men are heathen by choice that’s their business… but when men are heathen by no choice, that’s OUR business." Many people today do not like the word ‘heathen’ but that’s what God calls those who are without Christ. We desperately need to reach ALL lost men, women, boys & girls with the gospel of Christ so that they too can experience the satisfying life we have in Christ.
The Apostle Peter says that we can hasten our Lord’s return by heralding forth the life-giving message of the gospel. What a delight to know that WE can be involved in doing this.
Isaiah heard a call that really wasn’t intended for him but he went anyways. –We have a command to go and an invitation to hasten the return of our Lord through our witness, and still the world has not been reached. What is it going to take to get us moving?
It is our desire to see every evangelical church in equipping and sending forth those who will make disciples of all nations. We are here to assist that purpose in our role as mission mobilizers with New Tribes Mission, and we want to help you in any way we can. We are here to assist the local church with missions vision so feel free to contact us. Maybe we can help you send those who will go… for Jesus sake.