When missionaries go to a country where the main language is not English, they spend a significant amount of time – right at the beginning of their service – in language study. The length of time may vary depending on the language or ministry focus, but everyone experiences the same feelings of frustration and fatigue as they learn to communicate in an whole new way.
Andy and Lizet Bowen serve in Paraguay, where they run the Guarani-Jopara Institute, teaching missionaries from a number of organizations Guarani, the heart language of 90% of Paraguayans. Andy firmly believes that the time and energy spent in language study are well worth the effort.
“When you learn somebody’s language, what it says to people is ‘I’m interested in you, I’m interested in your world.’ Learning somebody’s language is a powerful expression, without actually saying it, of caring for them, identifying with them. But it’s hard work. More than just a mental exercise, it’s a spiritual exercise.”
Listen to Andy’s story below as he shares his passion for helping missionaries learn Guarani.