Preparing to serve as a career missionary in a foreign land takes a lot of time. It also takes a tremendous amount of faith—stepping out into the unknown and going where God leads you—for most men and women this is an extremely daunting thought.
“Whether [the pillar of cloud from the LORD] was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out.” (Numbers 9.22) God lead the Israelites WHEN they would break camp and begin walking again or WHEN He wanted them to stay put for a while.
“For we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5.7) Living by faith is how God wants us to live our lives. To trust Him completely. There are dozens of verses in which God encourages us to trust in Him such as: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3.5-6)
Check out a brief introduction on the LBT website about how you can serve with LBT here.
Preparations for beginning to serve as a career missionary on foreign soil takes a variety of forms. Recently, Lutheran Bible Translators has begun a new program for new LBT missionaries who will be serving in West Africa. Paul and Ali Federwitz are friends and colleagues with LBT who also live here in Tamale in northern Ghana. They have helped organize the Africa Training Course which is a three-month program to prepare new missionaries for living and serving somewhere in West Africa.
There are five new missionaries who are currently preparing to serve full-time in Sierra Leon also here in West Africa. Four of the five new missionaries have come to Ghana to participate in this Africa Training Course. The two couples here are Rob and Mical Hilbert and Joshua and Ruthie Wagner. You can read more about them on the LBT website here.
The first month of the Africa Training Course is a culture and language learning program that I participated in right after I moved to Tamale. The program is run by TICCS, short for Tamale Institute of Cross Cultural Studies. TICCS offers new missionaries to Ghana the opportunity to learn more about the culture, language, people, etc. in what I describe as a “culturally safe environment.”
What I mean is, the Ghanaians, who run the program, teach the classes, prepare the meals, are quite familiar working with foreigners, and seem to enjoy getting to know the foreigners who come to the program. The workers are patient as you learn a little of the local language, culture, etc. and if you don’t really like a certain food that is served, they are not offended. These workers have learned that other people outside of Ghana are different from themselves and they seem to have learned to appreciate and respect other cultures.
Another great aspect about TICCS is that most of the workers are Christian, and many of those workers are probably Roman Catholic, though I can’t confirm this detail. TICCS was started by the Roman Catholic Church in Ghana, and they allow people of all religious backgrounds to participate. The purpose of TICCS is to help and encourage people new to the country to learn more about this culture. Check out the TICCS website here.
After the first month of the Africa Training Course, Paul and Ali, and fellow LBT friends and colleagues, David and Valerie Federwitz, will help with three weeks of daily workshops. Such workshops will be information tailored more to the specific ministries of LBT missionaries across West Africa.
In addition to these current LBT missionaries, Rev. Nathan Esala, who returned to the States with his family at the end of last November, has also come back to Ghana to help a little with this orientation program. Nathan’s primary reason for returning to Ghana for a while is to help the translators of the Komba New Testament to finalize the details of the translation and prepare it for printing.
- Please pray for the two couples who have come to Ghana to participate in the Africa Training Course.
- Please pray for the final preparations of the Komba New Testament that Nathan and the three other Ghanaian translators will be able to get the entire New Testament draft completed and ready to be sent to the printers.
Chris LaBoube serves as a Scripture Media Advisor in Ghana. You can learn more about him by checking out his personal blog, the LaBoube Listening Post.