Have you read the story in Acts 14:8-18?
This story happened not far from where we are and is one of the few instances of language confusion ever recorded in the entire Bible.
While trying to lead people to Jesus, Paul and Barnabas nearly ended up being the accidental ringleaders of a cult worship service! The more we meet other believers and workers here the more we are realizing it takes knowing the language to witness to and disciple people—by disciple I mean teaching them to learn and obey all of Jesus’ commands (Acts 28:20).
As a friend of ours has said, if a local responds immediately to your message and wants to “pray a prayer” to have Jesus in their life, there’s a good chance they haven’t understood what you meant and are assuming they can ask for Jesus’ involvement in their life without surrendering to His lordship.
We’ll be honest: not being able to communicate with people is incredibly frustrating.
It’s forcing us to do a lot of soul searching and to let Jesus work through some of our insecurities as we wait on Him to open up doors. This doesn’t mean that we aren’t reaching out to people. It’s just that most of the people that we are able to reach out to are from neighbouring countries and don’t speak the language any more than we do.
We thank God for opportunities to share the gospel. However, we also believe that God’s heart is to reach those who have so few people that can witness to and disciple them. We are realizing that many of the workers here have defaulted to reaching foreigners in transit through the country from neighbouring nations.
This is great but also explains why the country is so unreached.
It is a hard language to learn. It’s a stark reminder of how much we default to sharing with people from our own culture or language. It’s easier and much more comfortable.
Or, we share the gospel in a way that makes sense to our culture but may be totally irrelevant to the recipient’s culture because we haven’t taken the time to let God teach us how to reach these cultures.
(See here for an example: 3D Gospel – guilt innocence, honour shame, and fear power worldviews).
What are we doing about it:
We encourage you to find a list of unreached or less-reached peoples in Canada (here’s a good start: https://joshuaproject.net/countries/CA) and ask God how He would like you to engage these people groups with the gospel.
Alex has listed himself online for a local language exchange in order to learn and get to know others. Please pray for people to respond who are not only able to help us learn the language—but who are hungry for Jesus. And please pray for many opportunities to show and share Jesus to people who are ready to hear.
Last, of all, we would like to thank those of you who are supporting us financially. With both of us being involved in language study, we are becoming very aware we would never be able to do this without your financial help.
We simply wouldn’t be able to pursue full-time (Sarah is part-time—due to our son) language studies while working at the same time. We want to thank you for your commitment to us and the unreached people here.
We have begun a prayer group where we send out regular(ish) updates on prayer points.
If you would like to be part of that, please contact us through our Worker Profile.
We apologize to those who have asked to be on it and have not been added. We are having some difficulties doing that from our side. 🙁
Until All Know Him,