Sonya and I off to school on our first day of learning how to ** read. (Make that, learning how to teach people how to read.)
We began Literacy class on Monday, and it has been amazing how far our class has come in three days. We've made sample primers for in the trade language of Papua New Guinea, Pisin. This at times has been a challenge, but, again, technology has proved helpful!
Our software we used in our language learning practicum last semester has a setting which searches for certain letters when I enter them. For example, the first letters in my primer are "k", "a", "m", and "i". When I type those into the program, it produces all the words in Pisin containing those letters. This helps me when it comes time to write sentences using only four letters.
Literacy is vital to a thriving church. It is important for each believer to have the Word of God in his own heart language--that which he first spoke. We know it is important to be able to have Scripture for our own studying. BUT...what happens if we don't teach them how to read the Bible? Sadly, the result of an illiterate church plant is that it will not be able to successfully reproduce itself in future generations. As time passes, the Message will be warped by humanity if it is not written down. Without literacy as a complement to evangelism in a tribal setting, our efforts as missionaries will not be continued successfully by the tribal believers after we leave the village.
It is so exciting to see how God is putting everything together here at the MTC as I am able to see it worked out among missionaries right now! The Dao people in PNG are in literacy RIGHT NOW, learning how to read, understand, and write there own language. In a few years, they will be hearing the Gospel, and they will be able to share it with other villages and future generations, because they have the written Word and are able to read it! Praise God!!