So what are Craig and Sara learning at the Missionary Training Center anyway? Some have suggested that we should be learning how to cook up mice and forage for bugs, but I think we get on the job training for that stuff
We’ve actually been learning a lot both in the class room and out! But for this post we’ll take a look at the classes we’ve been taking.This semester, we will be taking a total of 17
1. Big Picture
2. Child Protection
3. CLA Intro
4. Communication Skills
5. CP1 Wrap-Up
7. Form and Meaning
8. Foundation Bible Teaching
9. History of NTM
10. Learning Styles
11. Love and Respect
12. Ministry Partnership 1
13. Ministry Practicum
17. Worldview Analysis
We have taken or are in the middle of taking all but 1 of these courses, so I thought I was at a good point to share about these classes! For those of you who are interested, I have wrote more detailed descriptions of these classes below.
1. Big Picture:
In this class, we looked at the way New Tribes works, from start to finish of a missionary’s career. Click on the picture to get a look the “Big Picture” (time frames are approximate).
2. Child Protection:
This is a HEAVY 2 day course where we learned and discussed the topic of child abuse.
3. CLA Intro:
CLA = Culture Language Acquisition. When we move overseas, we will have to learn to adjust to the language and culture in order to truly minister to the people on all levels. In this class, we touched on the basics of this. One thing we did was consider how even in America we have to understand someone’s culture and language when moving to a new place.
4. Communication Skills:
In this class, we considered different facets of communication and how to be good communicators ourselves. We talked about how to ask good questions and how to relate to different types of students. We considered how Jesus communicated with people as well.
This is a small group that we were placed in and meet with twice a week. We have two staff families as our leaders and 3 singles and 3 married couples (including us) making up the rest of the group! E-linc stands for something but I don’t remember what
7. Form and Meaning:
In this class, we discussed and compared different versions of the Bible and philosophies of translation (NIV, ESV, NLT, NASB, KJV, etc). If you’ve grown up in the church, you’ve probably heard others talk about one version is better than others. In this class we learned that all versions have some word-for-word translation and some meaning-based translation (with a few extreme exceptions). There is no pure translation. At the same time, we can trust that God has worked in the translators to give them as much wisdom as humanly possible, and we can trust the versions we have. Our teacher (who wrote a book on this topic if you want to learn more) suggested we spend time in different versions, perhaps doing our devotions in a different version each year. And while you’re still debating in your head whether one version is best, PRAY FOR US… in the future, we will have the huge task of being a part of translating a Bible into a new language, Lord willing!
8. Foundational Bible Teaching
NTM has a curriculum that they use to teach overseas. It’s called Foundational Bible Teaching (FBT), and in it, we teach from Creation (Genesis 1) to Christ, covering 72 different lessons. In this class, we had the opportunity to teach through a lesson ourselves (with a couple of other people) as well as to listen to our classmates teach other lessons. It is very eye opening to hear the Bible taught this way. This method has worked well for NTM in planting churches among people who have little or no context for the Gospel There’s a book called The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus as well as a similar version that’s intended more for our younger post-modern generation called By His Name that take this curriculum and put it into a book version for American readers. There is also a child’s version called The Lamb.
9. History of NTM:
We looked at the history of NTM, from its start in 1942 until now. It’s incredible to learn how God has worked in this mission from the start. We had the opportunity to be taught this class by Paul Wyma, the former executive director of New Tribes Mission. Paul is the son of some of the very first missionaries with New Tribes Mission. Their family now has a 4th generation in the mission! What a heritage! Paul also loves watching football so we’ve gotten together 4 or 5 times now to watch some Patriots games
10. Learning Styles
We all learn differently. We all perceive the world differently. This class focused on this and allowed us to identify the way we learn and the way we perceive the world. It was rather fascinating and helpful. If you want to learn more about the learning styles, you can look at the chart below! I am mostly AS with a little AR and Sara is 50/50 AR and CR. What do you think you are?
11. Love and Respect
There’s a good chance if you run in Christian circles that you have heard of the book Love and Respect before. Sara and I read the book around the time we got married but it was so worth going through this material again. If you’ve never read the book or watch the videos I can’t recommend it enough!
13. Ministry Practicum:
This isn’t a class so much as it is an opportunity to minister in the community and put into practice some of the things we’ve been learning in the school. Sara and I have been involved in a study with teen girls and teen guys respectively. We have been trying to focus not just on knowledge but day to day application of what it means to be a man, or what real humility before God looks like.
This has been one of my (Craig) favorite classes this year. We are studying articulatory phonetics, the study of speech sounds. This class will help us to learn language better and decipher an unwritten language once we move into the tribe. Taking this class involves learning the International Phonetic Alphabet and the sounds each letter makes. Each letter represents one and only one sound in any given language. So the idea is you can listen to any language and write down what they are saying in order to study, memorize and analyze. This isn’t to bad when it’s a sound we say all of the time in English. It’s a lot more humbling/scary/hard/exciting/funny when it’s a sound that does not exist in English, and we have to try to say it! Who knew how hard it could be to make our mouths say a sound that they are unfamiliar with! If you want more details on this class click HERE to go to one of our classmates posts. Just incase you’re wondering what the letters in the Phonetic Alphabet look like (and each of these letters has a sound that go with them), here they are:
We look at both how to best use our time and our finances in this class. Certainly important topics for anyone, but especially for missionaries!
When we work with NTM, there’s no way to escape working with a team. When we move overseas, we will be working with a team of people in the tribe ( 4-6 other people, marrieds or singles, American or non). We also will be working with a team of people who help to keep us in the tribe (leadership, supply buyer, pilot, guest house, medical, etc). We better know how to work with other people! This class is here to prepare us. We are sinful people, and we are going to encounter other sinful people, and this working in teams thing will not always be easy. We appreciate your prayers NOW in this area as this will greatly affect our ministry overseas. Pray that God will work in our hearts to be good team players.
17. Worldview Analysis:
When people here in America declare that something is “good” or “bad” how do they come to that conclusion? We all have ways of understanding everything we experience. This is a persons worldview. In the Worldview Analysis class we took several weeks to begin to understand how everything around us (family, media, friends, culture, school, experiences) shape how we view the world and what we hold to be “true.” When we get into a tribe we need to learn what the people believe is “true” about the world around them so we can communicate as clearly as possible. The goal in our own lives and for the lives of those we disciple is to also to have a Biblical worldview.
So there it is, our first semester in a nutshell! A great big thanks to our classmates Ben and Alisha Miller, for basically letting me copy this post from them, check out their site at http://millersonamission.blogspot.com (Some of you might recognize Alisha as Dale and Dottie Jenks Granddaughter )