When we mention the number nine, what do you think of? A baseball team? The fellowship of the Ring? The lepers who didn’t thank Jesus? Here at the Missionary Training Center, the nine, is our most recent incoming class. It is the smallest that we have ever had. God can do great things with small amounts of people. Judges 7 tells us how God winnowed an army and used only 300 men to defeat a much larger Midianite force. God used a man, his wife, two children and their spouses to save the human race from extinction. One willing teenager was used by God to kill the Philistine champion and rout their army. Yes, God specializes in using the few, the weak and the unexpected to accomplish his goals, but He also tells us to pray for laborers to be sent out into the harvest. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Evidently, in this one important task, God is looking for many harvesters, not just a few. Let’s be praying and willing to go.
And He said to them, The harvest indeed is abundant, but the farmhands are few.
Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
From the Ling Department
Dennis is glad to have a new coworker in the linguistics department. Dan and his wife worked for many years in a tribe in Brazil and felt that it was time for them to come back to the States. He is sitting in Dennis’ linguistics class this semester and will be going to Oklahoma with him in August. As of now we are anticipating that Dennis will go to Oklahoma while Monika and the kids stay in Missouri so that the boys won’t miss school.
Dennis & Monika with Lukas, Niklas and Anna
We hope you’ll be encouraged reading about God’s working in two tribal groups and a little personal update.
The verbs for the Hdi language in Cameroon consistently end in one of three vowels. Almost every verb ends in i, a, and u. But the word for love was only found with i and a. Why no u? The missionary asked the Hdi translation team which included the most influential leaders in the community “Could you ‘dvi’ your wife?”. “Yes,” they said. “That would mean that the wife had been loved but the love was gone.” “Could you ‘dva’ your wife?” “Yes,” they said. “That kind of love depended on the wife’s actions. She would be loved as long as she remained faithful and cared for her husband well.” “Could you ‘dvu’ your wife?” Everyone laughed. “Of course not! If you said that, you would have to keep loving your wife no matter what she did, even if she never got you water, never made you meals. Even if she committed adultery, you would be compelled to just keep on loving her. No, we would never say ‘dvu.’ It just doesn’t exist.”The missionary sat quietly for a while, thinking about John 3:16, and then he asked, “Could God ‘dvu’ people?” There was complete silence for three or four minutes; then tears started to trickle down the weathered faces of these elderly men. Finally they responded. “Do you know what this would mean? This would mean that God kept loving us over and over, millennia after millennia, while all that time we rejected His great love. He is compelled to love us, even though we have sinned more than any people.” One simple vowel and the meaning was changed from “I love you based on what you do and who you are,” to “I love you, based on who I am. I love you because of me and not because of you.”
God had encoded the story of His unconditional love right into their language. For centuries, the little word was there—unused but available, grammatically correct and quite understandable.
Adapted from a letter titled One Little Vowel, published to staff of Wycliffe USA on 30 July 2012
This is why we minister here at the MTC. This is why we teach grammar to the missionary candidates. So that:
All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD, and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship
before thee. Psalm 22:27
Lukas is back in public school after being homeschooled during our travels. It was difficult to let him go again. Niklas spends his days at home working on many building projects and playing with Anna. She is becoming a very active 9 month old. She is crawling and cruising and loves to laugh. Our desire is to teach our kids godly ways and attitudes and to help them learn to walk closely with him.
It’s a busy semester even though Dennis doesn’t have his usual class. He will be teaching a basic grammar course soon and is working on many aspects of the linguistics course. Monika doesn’t get bored with 3 kids and also helps out a little here at the Missionary Training Center, specifically in the Linguistics department.
Please don’t stop praying for us. Pray for us to grow in our awe of the Lord and in our walk with him. Please pray that we would follow the leading of the Holy Spirit so we can be fruitful for him in any way he desires. This is what we are praying for you as well.
The Biem people
“I am so free! I used to think all the good things I do would get me to heaven. But every night when I go to sleep, I knew I had not the slightest clue where I’d go if I die. So I’d get up the next morning, trying to do more ‘works’ so I can go to heaven. Now I know that Jesus paid for my sin debt and He said ‘It is ‘finished’. I am so free.”
This is a testimony from one of the new believers. The missionaries in the Biem tribe in Papua New Guinea, who were students here not that long ago, just finished the chronological Bible teaching and many got saved.
Because of his unconditional love for us,
Have a joyful day,
Dennis & Monika with Lukas, Niklas and Anna
Paraguay: Advanced Language Workshop
The Lord is at work in Paraguay. Dennis’ 2 weeks there were very profitable. It was good to see old friends and to hear how the Lord is meeting their needs and working through them. The missionaries were greatly encouraged by the help and tools they received from the advanced language workshop. This will enable them to move forward more quickly in their language learning and to improve their translation skills.
The students from our last class are scattered around the world now. We enjoyed learning with them and are excited to see how the Lord will use them in the future.
It is highly motivating for us to hear from any of our former students. Some are making good progress in learning the tribal language and hope to teach the Gospel soon and others are getting ready to move into a tribal work.
An excerpt from a recent update by some former students:
“Here in Papua New Guinea, New Tribes has implemented a new tool called People Group Assessment (PGA). Tribal groups that are surveyed are evaluated in several different areas. Teams of missionaries looking for a tribal work can then study all the available evaluations to aid them in choosing a location. Our team began by looking at seven different tribes. We slowly narrowed those down and finally landed on our top choice, which was the highest on the need scale according to the PGA criteria. It was very hard to study the information on each tribal group and know that we could pick only one! They are all so needy. Through this process, though, we have been reminded that in order to say “yes” to something, you have to say “no” to many other equally good things.We pray often for more laborers to join us here in PNG to help reach the many tribes that are still unreached.
Will you pray with us?”
We enjoyed our stay in Germany and were able to spend time with our family and friends there. Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit anybody for about two weeks due to a severe stomach bug going around in our family. It was an opportunity, however, to spend more time with Monika’s parents which was a blessing.
Anna is a thriving 6 month old who gives us much joy. Her brothers love to love on her. Lukas and Niklas are active boys who enjoy swimming in our lake.
His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints, [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church) Eph. 4:12
Bunk beds as kitchen shelves
Here we are again, for another few weeks in Oklahoma with Dennis’ Linguistics students. We are thankful that the camp turns out to be a good fit for us even in the winter. We enjoy living together as a group. Our prayer request is that this would continue until the end of our time here. The last week is especially hard because of packing, cleaning, finishing up the practicum and because, by that time, everyone is checking out mentally already. After the practicum our students will work on raising and strengthening their support team. Some of them are planning to go overseas as soon as this August.
▲ Using the men’s bathroom for doing our dishes. This time we decided not
to use the big Dining Hall for our relatively small group of people to keep
heating costs down. Dennis’ dad installed an electric range for us so we can
use one of the bedrooms as kitchen.
▲ All of us eating supper together and celebrating Niklas’ 3rd birthday.
▲ Bunk beds as kitchen shelves.
Visitors from Germany
Just a week after we come back from Oklahoma, Monika’s parents and aunt will arrive from Germany. Our whole family is excited about their visit. We wish for them to see God in our lives despite our own shortcomings and weaknesses.
Lukas loves and is very loyal to the friends he makes. His outgoing personality not only helps him to develop friendships but also enables us to get to know different parents in the area. We desire to make a difference in our newfound friends’ lives in pointing them to the good Shepherd.
Niklas was a Baby yesterday, according to him. He tries to do everything his bigger brother already knows how to do, but he still loves to come for a good hug which makes his parents (and grandparents ) happy.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Did you know that besides prefixes and suffixes languages can have something
called infixes. An infix is like a prefix or suffix except, instead of coming
before or after the main part of a word like un-comfortable or dog-s, it comes
in the middle of the main part of a word like com-un-fortable or do-s-g.
We don’t have any of these in English, but they do exist in Tagalog (spoken in
the Philippines) and other languages.
Praise: For the facilities we can stay at and for the Lord’s help with getting settled in here.
Prayer: That the students would learn a lot that would help them in their future ministry.
Prayer: For unity and that we would deny ourselves and put each other first and enjoy each other until the end. (Kids included)
Prayer: That God would raise up a strong support team for our students so they can go overseas soon.
Prayer: Please pray for balance for us. We want to walk in the ways the Lord has for us. Sometimes it is hard to know when to work, when to visit, when to take a break.
Prayer: That we would have wisdom in raising our kids the way the Lord would want us to. That they would desire to follow the Lord early in life.
We did it!
We were able to surprise Dennis’s parents, Duane and Dora, with a fiftieth anniversary party. They had no idea about it until we opened the door and everyone yelled “surprise!”. There were friends and family from 6 states here for the party. Duane und Dora are a great example to us in their commitment to the Lord and to us over all these years. Duane continues to do electrical work here at the Missionary Training Center each day and Dora baby-sits our kids some to enable Monika to help Dennis with the course. Dora also helps out at the Missionary Training Center.
We did it!
We were able to finish changing over all our linguistics material from the americanist phonetic alphabet to the international phonetic alphabet. We had to alter hundreds of pages of documents and many PowerPoint presentations and check and recheck them for accuracy. We praise the Lord for the gifted people he provided us with so that we could get it done in time for the semester to start.
Did you know that there is a language with only two vowel sounds
and another that has 31 vowel sounds? Also, one language has only
six consonant sounds and another has as many as 77 consonant sounds.
*According to one theory, English has 24 consonant sounds and 20
We are doing well. Lukas is 4 now and Niklas is 2 ½ and they are very active boys. Dennis has a new class. There are 7 students learning how to analyze the sound system and the grammar of an unwritten language. This will help them learn the tribal language well and to develop an alphabet in order to be able to translate the Bible. Monika has had the opportunity to get involved with Mothers of Preschoolers (MoPs) this year. It has allowed her to get to know other ladies in the area. She is desirous that the Lord would use her to be a blessing to the ladies that she comes in contact with.
Praise: We were able to get everything done for this semester.
Praise: We have a place for us and the students to stay while we are in Oklahoma. It will be the same camp we have stayed at in the fall and spring. We are excited that we are allowed to stay there in the winter.
Prayer: Please be in prayer in general for our missionaries. We have heard from a few missionaries in different tribal works who are struggling with living so isolated and other stresses that they face in their work. We “support workers” also need encouragement and much grace that we would live and work in a way pleasing to him.
Prayer: For balance in our lives as we try to juggle many responsibilities.
Prayer: That we would be faithful and diligent in training and teaching our kids the way the Lord would want us to. For them to learn how to walk with the Lord early in life.
Prayer: A good and productive semester of linguistics for the students.
Prayer: Please pray that we would have an impact in the lives of the students far beyond teaching them mere linguistics tools.
Prayer: We still need another Linguistics teacher.
Our church challenged its members to read through the New Testament in 11 weeks over this summer. We are reading it together as a couple and sometimes with our kids and are being blessed and refreshed by the word of God.
▲ Froggy and Mr. Elephant can’t speak German, and Lukas is learning
that he should speak only English to his Mommy when they are around.
We want Lukas to learn to be considerate and polite to the people
we are with by speaking their language. Role playing with his toys
at home helps Lukas ease into the concept. We are thankful to the
Lord that Lukas seems to be able to switch from speaking to his
Mama in German to speaking to his Mommy in English depending on
▲ Niklas keeps telling us that he wants to be a pilot some day.
Would you pray with us for more workers please? Jesus said: “The laborers are few”. With the desire to raise up more workers, New Tribes Mission participated in the Crossover Christian Music Festival here near the training center. We provided speakers, camping sites and a few activities including the “Wayumi” Experience. The 125 people who participated in “Wayumi” were given a 1 ½ hour introduction to tribal missions which included a “Brazilian” boat ride, a trip to a market, meeting “tribal” people in a village, and a missions challenge. We are praying that the Lord would send forth more laborers through this experience.
Even in the Linguistics department we are painfully aware of the lack of workers. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed with the many changes we feel like we need to do to keep the course up to date and useful for the students. For example all our material needs to be changed over to the international phonetic alphabet (from the americanist phonetic alphabet) by mid August when the new semester starts. It is “like changing a tire on a moving vehicle” since we can’t just stop teaching classes until we have made all the changes. This summer break is the time to try to get everything done well, before the new semester starts.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” 2.Tim.3:16
For us to walk closely with the Lord and to glorify him with our attitudes and actions. For balance in our lives as we try to juggle many responsibilities.
That we would be faithful and diligent in training and teaching our kids the way the Lord would want us to. For them to get to know the Lord early in life.
For the able people the Lord provided to help with the work and teaching load for the Linguistics department. Please pray that by Gods grace we would do the best we can (with the resources and capacities we have) for it to be an excellent course.
Good relationships to Dennis’ new class that starts in mid August. This will be a small group of just 7 students not counting the spouses and kids of the students. Please pray that we would have an impact in their lives far beyond teaching them mere Linguistics tools.
We need a place to stay when we go to Oklahoma with Dennis’ class in January 2011. We haven’t had to go to Oklahoma in the Winter before but because of the dual semester intake of students now and the duration of the course, we will have to start going to Oklahoma in January. The camp we have stayed at in the Fall and Spring isn’t set up for us to be able to live there during winter.
We need a new Linguistics teacher because Vic Labutes is moving on to a new ministry. He was a great blessing to our department and we will miss him.
▲ Monika’s parents (to the left) and Dennis’ parents and us at a playground
Dennis and his siblings got together to purchase tickets for their parents, Duane and Dora, to fly to Germany for their 50th wedding anniversary. We were in Germany when they arrived at the end of April, but returned to the States soon after. Duane and Dora stayed for 3 more weeks with Monika’s parents. They had a really good time together despite their different culture and language. Monika’s parents helped Duane and Dora see many interesting historical sights and tourist attractions.