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Southeast Asia 2011

Undisclosed Location June 29 - July 13, 2011

Working with pioneer missionaries, we will be leading a pastor’s conference in two countries. Both conferences are in areas where there are very few Christians. The pastors we are working with face persecution from local leaders.

Follow along as teachers in the field offer their experiences as they share theological training with local church leaders.

Field Notes   Southeast Asia 2011

Jul  10th,  2011Reaching the Heart with the Heart

Our team had the privilege of speaking with a man involved in Bible translation the other night.  All nine of us sat together in a small hotel room with the fan going full force.  We listened to him describing a life of travel and labor in the Harvest Field.  Much of what he told us would be worthy of writing about, but there is one thing which stuck out most poignantly.

Part of his work is facilitating the sharing of information between the members of a bible translating team doing work in various parts of two different countries.  He is also a reader of the translation, helping to craft the words into the language of the heart.

It is his use of the phrase “language of the heart” which most moved me.  He used an analogy related to marriage.  He and his bride do not share the same “first language”.  He said for many years he could not express the depth of emotion he had for his wife – even though he speaks eight languages and she at least three.  He told us she understood the words fine, but did not hear or understand the love-meaning, the heart-content, those words carried with them.  It was many years before he felt like his wife began to understand, in her own heart, how much he cared for her and how much he was devoted to her.

He used this story in a most remarkable way.  He related that experience to the translation of the bible into the mother tongue of the people.  In some way the word of God meets a person at a depth only reached by the language with which they grew up.  He told us they need to know God as Father and this comes best through the peoples mother tongue.

I confess I was deeply moved by this story for a number of reasons:

  1. This man was deeply committed to his wife and understood the bible, and the translation of it, better because of his love for her.  
  2. There is something about hearing the Gospel in the same language your mother soothed you with when you were a babe, or your father encouraged you with as a youth which carries great meaning – meaning which possibly could not come through any other medium.
  3. This man was willing to sacrifice not only to get the “data” into the hands of the people, but also to bring to them the affection-transforming beauty of the word of God.

Pray for this man, and for men like him, who do not disconnect the head from the heart – but who are willing to follow their King to the ends of the earth that men and women might know the love of God in Christ Jesus.    AK



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Jul  10th,  2011Lost and Found in Translation

After finishing our first conference and preparing for our next, one of our team members described the difficulties of translating our teaching. This observation brought him to a valuable conclusion about the need for indigenous leaders to do the work of reaching the nations. He writes:

I had an experience teaching in the last conference that really re-emphasized for me the need to have indigenous pastors who can preach the word - how it isn't even enough to have people who know how to preach the word be translated into an indigenous language.

As our preaching was getting translated, I noticed how it was difficult for the translators to find a certain word or phrase that we referenced from our English Bible in their translation. Thus, often they just translated our English and didn't pick the phrase out of their translation. In one particular verse I preached on, where there are two different terms in the English Bible (and in the Greek), there was only one term in their translation. Thus, one of my main points couldn't even be clearly demonstrated in their translation, and I wasn't aware until afterwards that that was the case.

This experienced reinforced for me that only native speakers preaching to native speakers will ultimately ever be effective in teaching people the word of God. If listeners can't be shown in their own text how a preacher is arriving at his conclusions, then they won't understand how to study the Word and they won't have the confidence that they otherwise might. Only native speakers can do that for them. May God use our trip to train them up! RI

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Jul  7th,  2011The Mission of the Mission

We finished our first conference yesterday. Our team taught through the book of Titus for a group of pastors and believers from all over Southeast Asia. The response was fantastic! Focusing on one book of the Bible was unique and new to most of the people attending the conference. The teaching encouraged the believers and helped give the pastors a new paradigm for ministry. But even more important is how this conference fits into the mission of God. There is so much potential here for huge kingdom work exploding throughout this area of the world. Our team believes the key to the mission of God is the teaching of the word of God. When we think of the nations, how important to engage the unreached by equipping the people who live among the unreached. When we think of the health of the church, how important to help equip the leaders who minister those churches. When we think of the discipleship of believers, how important to model that discipleship for these believers. The value of teaching the word of God is that it addresses all of these issues! With every response of thankfulness and every testimony of the power of God, we saw how vital this mission has been to the overall mission of God!

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Jul  4th,  2011Walking With The People

Our team went for a walk yesterday in an open air market place.  Just a crowd of people.  Imagine the state fair on its busiest day times two.  Then add dogs, and chickens, and the most amazing smells, with bicycles, rickshaws and motorcycles weaving in and out of everybody!  A couple of us took video as we wandered through the crowd.  One of us even received a blow as we walked, right in the camera, by a flying banana.  The flying banana came from a float parked in the middle of the street.  We were told that it was some kind of shrine to a local Hindu god.  There were men offering these banana's to the idol, and then throwing them into the crowd. 

In some ways it is an exciting experience to learn about other cultures.  In other, more profound ways it is disturbing.  Men were standing around the idol who would remove their shoes and begin meditating and praying before the idol -- worshiping the idol.   Some of what goes on here is done in ignorance, and some is done with knowledge of, but rejection of the truth.  Both types of people are lost apart from the Gospel.  The men we will be speaking with during our first two day conference minister to the people in that market.  They desire to bring the gospel of Christ to them.  We pray that we can help them do that, and we trust in the Lord to bring that about.



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Jul  4th,  2011Connecting With The World

It is amazing to realize your dependence on the internet once it is taken away! It is also hard to remember the internet is actually a luxury and not a necessity. Getting to a working and consistent connection is difficult in this area of the world, but as you watch the streets and the way of life here it is immediately apparent that the people live with a whole different set of priorities, values, and perspectives. One must constantly be on guard of cultural arrogance! It is easy to assume that the way people live here is strange or inefficient. However, the way of life is really just unique to these people. Our difficulty in connecting to the internet represents in many ways the difficulty we can experience in connecting with people from a different culture. But with time and humility given to us by the Lord, we can begin to see with His eyes and have a heart to connect with these people so that they may connect with God through the gospel! CN

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