Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Is Language Learning Ministry? (blog post by Chris)

One of the great things about living in Thailand is that not many people speak English.  What?!  Does this make it harder for us to communicate? Most of the time.  Does it mean we have to study more to learn the language?  Definitely.  But so far, we have enjoyed the challenges of learning Thai- even those times when we thought we were ordering noodles and got white rice instead.

Because English is valued but not always available, we find ourselves in a unique position to use teaching English as a tool to build relationships. Dave has built a relationship with a Buddhist man by meeting twice a week to practice English and Thai.  He has really grown to look forward to these days when he can sit and talk with his new friend.  Eric has also begun teaching English to several new believers from our church.

Every Monday I go to the local bar area where I, and several other missionaries, meet with bargirls to practice English.  We are excited to build relationships with these women through something so simple for us.  And on Saturdays, I meet with nearly thirty young people to practice English.  All of these young people are Buddhist and it is a joy to be able to get to know each one of them.

Teaching English and even learning Thai are not the goals for us, they are the tools to help us build relationship with the people of Thailand who we are growing to love more and more each day. 

Learning language on missions is a necessary challenge. However, it is not something we just need to do right now, so we can finally do some "real" ministry. Learning language IS ministry.


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