Off and Running

September 14, 2016

After three weeks of orientation classes (i.e. Intro to New Tribes Mission), we finally started our first official class last Monday. During orientation we had sessions about the history of NTM, discussions of doctrinal values and core beliefs, an overview of the start-to-finish work of an indigenous church plant and presentations on the changing face of tribal missions because of war and displacement. In addition, several teachers from classes we’ll be taking over the next few years have given us about a one hour overview of their upcoming courses, so we’ve had brief introductions into phonetics, culture and language acquisition (CLA) and linguistics among others.

Former and current NTM missionaries have laid bare to us the challenges of tribal missions and have implored us to count our successes and failures as defined in the Bible and to count gain and loss in light of truth. We've received pleas to make sure we’re going for God and not for any other reason. The people you serve will sometimes be unlovable, the malaria will be unbearable, but if you are there for God, He will be the reason you stay, because He won’t fail you.

Something we've learned about the Missionary Training Center is that it's not just a classroom-based education, and that it's called a training center for a very intentional reason. Relationships are a big deal here. In fact, relationships are vital to ministry, and that's the point. New Tribes Mission wants to train us for what lies ahead, which is not exclusive to the classroom. So while we'll be spending our mornings in class, we're also expected to spend many of our afternoons and evenings in ministry, whether that's with a community outreach, or an on-campus job, or with our church, or with our classmates and staff. By spending all this time with people, we'll be able to put into practice much of what we're learning in class. So when we get to the field, ideally, we're not starting our ministry but continuing in it.

One of those ministries that the school has placed us in is our E-LINC group, which is the school's version of small groups composed of faculty and about 7-8 couples/families who are all in the same course year. This semester our group will be meeting twice a week to help us all as we adapt to the training, but ultimately it exists to be a platform for prayer and encouragement in many of the challenges that we're all facing.

Here are a couple pictures of our E-LINC group :)

It was a great August for us and September has only been better. We’re constantly being challenged and encouraged by faculty, small groups and fellow students. We’ve also been spending a lot of time with people building relationships. (A definite win for these two introverts!)

In closing, we’re asking you to please pray for the following for us:

2 Thessalonians 1:11 - “So we keep on praying for you asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.”

Nate and Laura