by Nathan Fritz
One of the greatest blessings of growing up in a pastor’s home was the privilege of having many missionaries and preachers at our house for dinner. One vivid memory is of Mr. Mumford, a missionary to France, who came through on furlough when I was about ten years old. I showed him the postage stamps from his prayer letters that I had been collecting, wanting to know what the French words written on the stamps meant. During the course of the meal, we struck up a deal. I would send him postage stamps from the States with a personal letter, and he would send me whatever stamps he could find in France.
by Emanuel Schrock
Do you know what is going on in missions around the world? Do you know in what areas of the world the people are that have the greatest need to hear the Gospel? At BBTI, classes begin each day with twenty minutes of World Survey. Students report on and pray for a BBTI graduate, a country, and a people group. It’s a great way to stay informed on what missionaries are facing, discover where there are isolated people groups, and learn about the spiritual condition of other countries.
By John and Sarah
As missionaries on deputation, we enjoy ministering in different churches; but our greatest desire is to get to the field! Impatience can quickly set in—I need to be there now—but God has important things for us to learn first (or else we would be there now). Part of that learning is training at BBTI as we continue deputation. Our field is challenging, but God is greater than the challenges. We will be learning a tonal language, where the tone used makes the difference between words like pineapple and zebra.
By Doug Nispel
Phonetics is the study of human speech sounds. The goal of phonetics is to recognize, record, recall, and reproduce all of these individual sounds. This may sound easy, but when you include sounds from other languages, it is very challenging. We are learning new sounds that we do not use in English, which gives our ears, tongue, and lungs a workout! This is exactly what is required to learn a different language.
By Steve Schnell
Our Ivy League campus is located on 117 acres, much of which is wooded. (The poison ivy here grows on trees, not buildings.) For one week in the spring, we go to the woods for Jungle Camp. We live with nature and without modern conveniences. The purpose, besides illustrating that life is possible without electricity and Internet, is to teach survival and teamwork. Missionaries in a primitive setting must be able to care for themselves.
By Cindy Stacy
My adventure of faith began in 1972 when I realized that the sacrifice of God’s Son fully paid for my sins, and I was saved. From then until now, He has continued to build my faith.
He has asked me to be a missionary to Zambia, Africa, where I will share this message of salvation in public schools. In this land of 13.8 million souls, the government requires one hour a week of Bible teaching in public schools.
By Bruce Stuart
The rushing of wind through the tree tops, the running of water through the old brook, the tapping of rain, or the soothing lapping of ocean waves—these are sounds the Deaf will never hear.
Lift up your eyes! The Deaf are a culture without a country and a nation without a flag. Today, there are over 600 million known Deaf worldwide, which is almost twice the population of the United States! Of the approximately 800 deaf who die every day, only 16 will have ever seen a glimpse of the gospel message.
Phonetics & Culture
By Sam and Mary Beth Snyder
In preparation for mission work, we were taught the need to learn the local language and culture of the nationals. Older missionaries in Kiribati told us to think like the people in order to learn to speak faster. We tried to do that for almost two years but with little knowledge of how to do so. It became very frustrating. We learned enough of the language to read, write, and translate some Bible studies, but then we ran into a brick wall with our language learning. We were living all around people that needed the Bible’s message. While we had made some progress in learning their culture, we were frustrated because we could not effectively and clearly communicate.
By John Combest
We have an English Bible that we believe God preserved in perfection. Is this possible for other people, or was it just a unique opportunity for English? A fundamental foundation to Bible translation is that God is able to preserve His Word in its pure form in any language.
Phonetics & Language Learning
By James Overton
In November 2012, our family surrendered to full time mission work, speciﬁcally with Bible translation. The week we surrendered, I told my wife that we were headed to BBTI the following fall. I had heard amazing testimonies about the school and knew without a doubt that BBTI was the place for our training.
My wife and I have thoroughly enjoyed every class and are trying to soak up as much as we can. I will tell a few speciﬁc moments that have been highlights in our learning.
Linguistics & Cross-Cultural Communication
By Ron Moreland
It is now the end of 2013 and there are still over 7,000 people groups in the world that are unreached with the gospel. There are still many people groups with no written language. How can we translate scripture into these languages? The advanced missionary training taught at BBTI addresses this need. The linguistic studies equip the missionary to go into the different areas of the world not to just learn a national language, but to also learn a native language and to give an unwritten language an alphabet.
By Heith Fussner
It was bittersweet as we bid our church family good bye, and headed for Texas to prepare ourselves to serve the Lord in Ethiopia. Deputation weans you from your church, and prepares you to leave for the mission field in that regard. Once we arrived at BBTI, we quickly found the place we will be calling “home” and are now the new residents of what is called “the Long House.”
As we began to meet the other students and families attending BBTI, it became very clear we are exactly where we are supposed to be.
By Rachel Hernandez
We have had an amazing nine months here in Bowie, Texas. At times, class has been like drinking water from a fire hose. One of our classes was Jungle Camp.
Jungle Camp is when we camp in the back yard of BBTI. Growing up, camping was riding in a motor home, visiting all kinds of coll places, swimming, and eating granddaddy’s delicious biscuits. That is not what happens here! From the beginning of school, we heard that you could only eat what you found or killed and had to make your own shelter-all kinds of crazy rumors. (Note: Do not listen to children!)
By Jacob Shaver
As my family and I prepare to reach indigenous tribes in Mexico, I seek advice from as many missionaries as I can. I commonly hear that these unreached groups are hardened and opposed to being evangelized.
I understand that I am not going to reach these people for their sake or mine, but for the glory of God. Indigenous groups such as the Aztecs and Mayans may not give the response to the Gospel that I pray for, and my ministry may be one of simply plowing the field and sowing the seed. However, God has opened doors, putting us in partnership with other missionaries as well as directing us to a specific area.
BBTI has been invaluable in preparing my family and me both mentally and spiritually.
By Rodney and Cheri Frey
After a few years on the mission field among the Mapuche, people of the land, in Argentina, the Lord began to show us the need to push forward in learning the native language, Mapudungun.
I worked with another missionary to the Mapuche in Chile. His Spanish is better than most missionaries I know, and he is a BBTI graduate.
By Rebecca Florence
My husband and I took a survey trip to Papua New Guinea in 2010. We were excited about the call of God, thrilled about prospective ministry opportunities, and full of anticipation for what God would have us to do. However, after six weeks in the bush, we had gained little of the trade language, Tok Pisin, and even less of the people’s heart/tribal language, Kamea. Only a few of these dear men and women can comprehensively communicate in the trade language, and to me, the Kamean people talked from the back of their mouths in rapid speech, making sounds I have never made or heard. How was I to learn something like that, and where do I even begin???
By Nicole Condra
The purpose of Culture Class is to give knowledge and prepare a person for the changes he will face in another country. It helps a missionary to more quickly and effectively reach the people to whom God has called him.
Growing up as a missionary kid, life for me was full of changes and new cultural experiences. My parents worked with deaf people, both stateside and internationally.
The Big Picture
By Luke Knickerbocker
We often get bogged down on one aspect of the work of God and fail to see the whole picture! It is natural to focus on our own ministry, while failing to participate in the overall plan of God. We know God’s command to evangelize the world, and we convince ourselves we are doing everything we possibly can. How then, can we remain ignorant of the big picture that God wants to be worshipped by every nation, people, kindred, and tongue? How is it possible that we go on with business as usual while turning a blind eye to over 6,000 people groups who are unreached with the gospel?
By Trina Muldoon
Mrs. Missionary spent Saturday setting up for the church’s first “potluck,” making sure there were plenty of tables and chairs for everyone. However, she is dismayed to see that half the folks are eating outside, even though there are plenty of places to sit inside. What is wrong? She has not yet learned that it is considered rude for unmarried people to eat in front of married people, as single folks are not viewed as “adults.” This shows a lack of cultural understanding.
By Duane Cleghorn
Taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth (uttermost parts) usually involves working with tribal people. The language of these people groups is often only in the spoken form; there is no written alphabet. There are neither grammar books nor dictionaries. Learning these languages is quite a challenge.
By Jason Shirk
“For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” (I Cor. 14:8) Though this verse is taken slightly out of context, the principle is true. If the watchman sounds an uncertain sound upon the approach of the enemy, how will the army know to prepare for the battle? How will the lost know to flee from the wrath to come if the missionary, through his inability in the language, gives an uncertain sound? The missionary must strive to speak clearly in the language of the people the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Redemptive Analogy, Pt. 3
By Laura-Lee Alford
God has gone to great lengths to see that every people group has a key that will unlock their door of understanding. Consider the cannibalistic headhunting Asmat living deep in the swamps of southern New Guinea. Wouldn’t such “backwards heathen” need years of teaching before they could understand a spiritual concept such as the second birth? Perhaps not.
Redemptive Analogy, Pt. 2
By Laura-Lee Alford
A redemptive analogy is an aspect existing in every culture which foreshadows redemption. A Jewish example is when John said, “Behold the Lamb of God…” Another example is from the Karen of Burma who worshiped demons and lived in complete darkness—except for one ray of hope kept alive by a handful of prophets. That hope was that someday they would be freed from their bondage to demons and would be able to worship Y’wa, the one true God.
Redemptive Analogy, Pt. 1
By Laura-Lee Alford
The Santal story rocked the foundations of accepted missions methodology in churches across Europe. In 1867, missionary Lars Skresfrud was baptizing Santal Christians every day, and thousands more were begging for the Gospel! How could these people, who had been steeped in spiritism for centuries, so readily understand and accept the Gospel?
A Story from Vanuatu
By Michele Bass
“Then what can I do to be saved?” Just one day earlier Yollen had been listing her good deeds that would surely be enough to save her, but as the Lord allowed me to apply His law to her heart, and as the Holy Spirit convicted her during the night, she now saw that she was a sinner and that it was hopeless for her to offer her own goodness to God. What a joy it was to point her to the spotless Lamb of God, Who has already done all that is necessary for her salvation. After realizing her helplessness and the power of the gospel, Yollen simply and sweetly put her trust in Jesus alone as her Savior.
A Story from New Guinea
By John and Selina Allen
Jack Naudi, my language helper, and I went to see some villages to our north. On the way, we met an old lady, Nkiru (pronounced “n-key-due”), sitting along the trail. I greeted her in Kamea, and she lit up. (Having one of the white people talk to you is a treat for the older folk.) She gave us some nuts to eat and as we turned away, I talked to Jack about witnessing to her. He went right to it! She needed some medicine but was too weak to walk to the clinic, so we headed back to get medicine from Selina and for Jack to get his Pidgin Bible. (Someday we’ll have one in Kamea!)
By Charlie Luther
My family and I will soon be endeavoring to learn the Fante language as we begin ministering to the Fante people of Ghana, Africa. This is where the Lord is sending us, and learning the heart language of the people is the task He is preparing us for.
Since both my wife and I only speak English, the thought of the great task of language learning which lies before us was somewhat daunting. However, having completed Language Learning class at BBTI, we are greatly encouraged because we now have a proven plan to implement.
A Story from Chile
By Don Heinz
Roberto Soto Hernandez was born in 1985 and was raised on the “other side of the tracks.” When his mother deserted them, his father married a woman thirty years his junior to help raise his eight children.
Roberto stayed out of trouble and did well in his studies. He won a partial athletic scholarship to Frontier University where he studied structural engineering. He had a passion for music and took his stereo everywhere, listening to rock and heavy metal.
God’s command in Mark 16:15, “. . . Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” is a simple command. Yet the steps involved in the process of communicating the gospel message are complex.
Most BBTI classes are devoted to this aspect of mission work. In Phonetics, Phonemics, Morphology, and Situational Language Learning, we learned how to bridge the gap in communicating in the native speaker’s own “heart language.” But for many missionaries, the linguistic need does not stop there. There is a worldwide demand for English proficiency, and as more people seek to learn English, the need for qualified English teachers is continually opening doors for mission opportunities.
By Jeff Klein
The gospel is a simple message with complex thoughts. As a missionary, I must present not only the simple words of the gospel such as God, death, and birth; but also the complexities of atonement, eternity, and rebirth. To reach a people for Christ, it is best to speak their language in their culture. To do this I must know not just the structure of the language, but also its heart.
The lack of language schools for many languages concerns me. And if there is a language school, does it teach the dialect of the people I’m going to reach?
By Joel Simkus
Walking into the classroom building at BBTI, you can almost hear the high-pitched whine of precision metal grinders hard at work. Nearing the instruction room, you can almost see the shadowed forms of different tools used in the refining process—high speed belt grinders, precision polishing wheels, and fine grade polishing compounds. Inside the classroom, brilliant showers of sparks are almost visible as numerous “swords” are honed with utmost precision.
Articulatory Phonetics – A Gateway
By Justin Levine
Language learning has always been a hobby of mine. I had started with German by the time I was twelve years old, and I adopted the studies of many more languages as my life progressed. All these studies, prior to taking Articulatory Phonetics, were very complicated; successful—maybe, but they were most assuredly inefficient.
At the first Inapang literacy graduation in Papua New Guinea, Gumentige expressed his happiness by saying, “If we learn to read and write in our own language, we can read God’s own Word and then other men won’t come and deceive us about His talk.” This is a wonderful example of the part literacy plays in providing people with God’s Word.
By Jay and Nancy Armstead
One of the best kept secrets of language learning is that a person has approximately two years in a new culture to “get launched,” or he will probably never “take flight” in learning that language. Of course, this is not true in every case, but nearly so. The first two years of learning a language are new and exciting, and your mind takes it all in willingly and with high expectations. The people in the new culture, whose language you are learning, are likely to be patient and helpful in those first two years as well. However, after this initial period is past, the culture and language become rather “ho-hum” and the people tire of you asking child-like questions and slaughtering their language.
By Jedidiah Beeman
Did you know that not all sounds in a language have meaning to the listener? If you are like me, you probably never noticed a difference in the way you pronounce the letter “p” for the English words “pill” and “spill.” Yet, a native Thai speaker would distinctly hear a difference in the pronunciation of these “P’s!”
Would you be surprised if I told you that speakers of some languages would hear no difference between the letters “r” and “l” in rice and lice? What causes these differences in the way we perceive what we hear?
By John Allen
Imagine hearing preaching without ever hearing God’s Word quoted in your language during the message. You understand the sermon, but you don’t understand the Scripture quotations; they are from an entirely different language. There is not even a Bible in your language to see if what is preached is true!
By Mark Helzerman
We, as ministers of God, are faced with many obstacles in communicating the Gospel to other people. One of these hurdles is to convey the Word of God in a culture where the principles of God are foreign. In Culture class, we learned to study what people believe and how they think. This will enable us to better relate the concepts of Scripture to a people who have not been exposed to them.
Morphology & Syntax
By Pat Cassidy
“So what are you learning at BBTI?” When asked that question last semester, I would smile and say, “Morphology and Syntax.” If the conversation continued at all, it usually changed quickly to another subject! Morphology is a big word for the study of how words are made. And syntax? That is simply how words combine to form sentences.
That sounds pretty easy, but it can get complex.
By Cara Shirley
The first class I faced as a student at BBTI was Articulatory Phonetics, a study of how sounds relating to language are produced by the human mouth. The amount of knowledge and enjoyment students get from this class depends on the students’ level of participation. Phonetics is a hands-on, or rather lips-on, course. As well as learning the theory behind how sounds are made, students are required to learn how to record and reproduce all the sounds that they hear. Like any skill, phonetics takes practice, so much class time is spent doing oral drills (which to the uninitiated sounds like an international market).
So what, you ask, is the point?