Monthly Archives: May 2017

I’m so over being a Proverbs 31 woman

I wouldn’t say training with New Tribes is difficult per se, but I would say it’s heavy. Nate and I and our team will learn a language that no outsider in the history of ______ tribe has ever learned. We’ll use our training to match sounds with symbols, put down their language in written form, teach them how to read it and write it, teach them how to teach others. We’ll share the whole story of the Bible with them for the first time in the history of their heart language. They’ve heard bits and pieces of various religions in a common trade language, but never in their first language. We’ll translate the Bible for them. We’ll train pastors in the truth of the Word. We’ll teach them how to recognize and reject unsound doctrine that comes in the form of the Catholics and Charismatics and the Muslims who try to tickle their ears like Timothy talks about. And eventually, little by little, we’ll tip toe backwards until we’re gone and they’re self sufficient and they don’t need us. They’re developing and preaching sermons in Romans by themselves like total ballers. And they’re discipling others; they’re raising their children in the truth for every generation until Christ comes back!

*I’m saying “we” loosely. I don’t aspire to be a woman pastor over men.

But what if I teach them the wrong things? What if I was too interested in watching Netflix than in my preparation for this and so I’ve missed points in my theology or I’ve not given a sound defense against witchcraft and sorcery and the other things they’ve been involved in for so long? What if I don’t translate parts of Paul’s epistles accurately because I missed the nuances because I was lazy back in America? God will hold me accountable, not because I didn’t pick the best words for translating the crux of the passage and, dang it, Laura, you’re so dumb, but because way back when I consistently threw my time away. And at judgment day, we give account for our time.

There’s a misconception in Christianity that God just wants you to be willing, and that’s all he requires. Not hardly. If you’re going to go out there and represent Christ, you had better know what you’re talking about; otherwise you’ll make a mockery out of Christ because of your ignorance. And that’s happening all over the world right now. One of our teachers at school doesn’t miss an opportunity to remind us of this.

“How will you help them take every thought captive to obey Christ if you don’t truly understand and appreciate what is holding them captive in the first place?”  

“Your Sunday school answers won’t work out there. The fortresses Satan’s built around them over centuries aren’t made of sand. 

BUT the weapons of our warfare are divinely powerful for the destruction of forces.        2 Cor. 10:4

For some reason we love to sit around and ooh and aah at the Proverbs 31 woman, but what we need are more 2 Timothy 2:15 women – “Study to show yourself approved…rightly dividing the word of truth.”

So I guess it’s time to get started.

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God, make my feet beautiful

Before we came here, I thought the reason our training was two years was to teach us the ins and outs of phonetics, grammar and linguistics; how to learn an undocumented language from indigenous people; how to translate and all that jazz. One year in, and I’ve learned that’s the easy part, relatively speaking, and that’s not why we’re here for two years. We’re here for other things.

We’ve spent hours upon hours learning about the nature of animistic religion, and I’ve learned a million new things about the complexity of making disciples in other cultures.

We’ve read and talked about the intricacies of various religions, and practiced thinking through “how would you combat this minute detail to the people powerfully enough to defeat it?” As we hear about all these new gods during class I keep thinking, whoa. This is totally opposite of what God really is like!

If they only knew.

And it never once has been a thing of oh, yeah it’d be nice if God is who you think he is, but he’s actually like this. It has always, ALWAYS been, oh, if you only knew! he is so, SO much better than you believe him to be!

How much we take it for granted that the God who created this world is good. He could have been evil and unfair, and we wouldn’t have been able to do a thing about it.

The following examples are oversimplifications, but they’re common themes in many belief systems –

Tribal societies constantly try to commune with ancestors to help them during times of grief. The people find oneness with them because their ancestors were there once and can understand what the living are going through. Oh, but Jesus, that’s why you came to earth and clothed yourself in flesh! Because you know what it’s like; because when we pray to you, you know what we’re going through. You get it. You’ve been here. We have camaraderie with you.

But who will tell them?

Tribal societies all have a creator God, but he is distant, uninvolved and uncaring. God, you wept for us; you sent your only Son to buy us back. You banished us in paradise, but you spent the entirety of Genesis – Revelation pursuing us. You love us incomprehensibly.

But who will tell them?

Tribal societies believe that if you bother the creator god with anything that’s not dire or urgent, you’ll invoke his wrath and he’ll kill you. God, you want to know our smallest cares and our deepest desires; you never get tired of hearing our voices. You long for us to talk to you.

But who will tell them?

Tribal societies teach that women or other marginalized groups are born with an evil spirit. But we are created in the image of God himself. We have honor and worth and dignity. We are beautiful and prized and worth more than our ability to bear children. We have inherent value.

But who will tell them?

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!

God, make my feet beautiful because right now they’re calloused and ugly.

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