Training Team Members in Tirana

By C and G

EASTERN EUROPE

One of the first visits Samuel made to our house after having been assigned as a field missionary was on a warm spring day. We sat in our little courtyard and he shared more about the journey of God calling him to this life.

He recalled one of his Bible school professors bringing in a box of missionary biographies for the students to read, and Samuel ended up being the last to get one: Eric Liddell. As he learned of Liddell’s story, he was challenged by the athlete’s willingness to give up fame and success to go to a distant place; he asked himself if he could give up all that was familiar. Now he has responded to the challenge, and is learning Albanian, with the hopes of living in a minority Albanian community elsewhere in the Balkans.

Samuel is one of more than 35 Latin American cross-cultural workers whom we have helped train in the past three years. We are serving a partner organization whose focus is to send Latinos to the least-reached people groups. Some of our trainees, like Samuel, themselves come from people groups who, 150 years ago, were considered least-reached—groups which spoke (and continue to speak) their own indigenous languages.

In the process of getting from their home countries to the field, workers first go through a Phase 1 two-week training event in Guatemala. Then they can attend Phase 2, a three-month internship. This is where we come in: during this time, we teach them principles of culture and language learning, cultural adaptation, teamwork and conflict resolution, and navigating contexts of different faiths. Other trainers contribute in the areas of church planting and contingency planning.

Samuel was part of the trainee group that got “stuck” with us when the pandemic first hit, so that his three months turned into eight before he could return to Guatemala. However, the unexpected confinement tested the group’s mettle, and they became committed to serving in a cross-cultural setting. Samuel arrived in May 2021, settling into a new language and culture. Three other young people have arrived since then, one of whom is living with us to improve her English before she goes to the Middle East to serve as a doctor in a refugee camp. (Lord willing! We all know that any plans are to be held lightly, and prayed for, as we trust in God’s sovereignty.)

In the meantime, we continue to provide mentorship to these and other new field workers elsewhere in the Balkans. How can you pray for us? We are preparing to return to Canada in June for a year, so we would like to work on mentoring our colleagues well until then, in order that they may be able to continue serving faithfully. Pray especially for good communication all around, and for us, in the spirit of Hebrews 10:24, be able to “spur [others] on toward love and good deeds.”

C and G serve with Wycliffe Canada in Eastern Europe as Sending Movement Facilitators.

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