Post 104 / The Next Language

Give Me That Mountain

“Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said. And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance. Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel.” [Jos 14:12-14 KJV]

As the Lord would have it, our first church service after arriving back to Indonesia had this sermon, “Give me this Mountain.” Although not specifically about the languages of Indonesia, it was focused on the nation as a whole and the expansion of the church. I took it as an appropriate challenge to claim more than 1000 languages that still do not have the Gospel recorded in this vast tropical paradise.

At this point I think I need to be sure that I am not playing into preconceived notions about the “unreached.” This came into perspective recently when talking with an SIL translator. She took issue with a statement another GRN staff member had made to her about all the “unreached “ languages in the Indonesian side of the island of Papua. She is very supportive of our ministry and appreciative of the collaboration between us and all evangelical missions. She took exception to our use of two words — language and unreached.

I had mentioned that our data showed that there are over 700 languages that have been verified that are unrecorded. (That is over and above the 728 that are recorded and on 5fish.) Another 500 are unverified. She correctly rebutted that there are only 466 languages as they count them. She was referring to what are called International Standard Organization codes. ISO-coded languages represent what was originally considered a language with the criteria to justify a Bible Translation. That is fair enough, but it leaves out all the other languages that are relegated to the status of “dialect.” Years ago Global Recordings Network became the stewards of the “dialects” in the world of cross cultural missions. We assign the language numbers to those speech varieties (new term for “dialects”) for all missions.

I have defended giving language status to every language that is still spoken by a viable community. That has been expounded elsewhere in these blogs. It is at the core of the essence of our mission. If a language has no existing Christian audio resources that they would claim as their own, it is unreached in my books; but in public I will choose to say “unrecorded.”

That does not mean that the people group is unreached in the classical sense – and that is where there can be confusion. My missionary friend said that there were no unreached people in her area. Most of them had churches established. I can say from first hand experience in Mexico and now Nigeria that the same is true there. In fact in some of those people groups in Nigeria the church could be classified (as in North America) as post Christian in my opinion.

So, where does that leave the ministry of Global Recordings Network? Is the Gospel in audio still needed in “every language”? Without being presumptive I would say that is the question that “every language” should answer for themselves. Indeed, in one language in Mexico their first answer was no. After thinking about upcoming generations that had not experienced the history of Christianity’s entry to their communities and the situation of the shut-in monolingual elders and the large percentage of the community still uncommitted to Christ, along with others that chose to migrate seasonally to work camps elsewhere, they decided it would be good to raise the banner of the Gospel in their mother tongue as a witness to all.

Our more recent experience in Nigeria was that given a choice and given a chance to hear what is available in neighboring languages and then the option to have something similar in their own tongue, most often their enthusiasm could not be contained.

The attraction and power of an intelligible word in your mother tongue should not be underestimated. I was recently in a room full of immigrants at the immigration office. The usual noise of several people in several languages went over my head, but out of the static I heard American English and though they were speaking in a subdued fashion, I could hear and understand every word they said. My brain was selectively filtering that significant sound to my understanding. I think that was normal and indicative of the superiority of the mother tongue as a communicator.

The fact that God Himself in the Scriptures elected to be so specific about race and language in the Book of Revelation shows that He wanted no equivocation when it comes to culture and race and speech when we are finally around that throne. “Every nation (ethnos), kindred (family?), and tongue, and people” is close enough for me to “the story of Jesus in every language” to put us in the center of God’s intentions.

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” [Rev 14:6 KJV]

God Bless,

Larry DeVilbiss | Executive Director

Global Recordings Network USA

If you are interested in learning how to share links on social media that will promote use of our recordings and the Gospel in general, please contact RolandHeck@GlobalRecordings.Net

Previous “The Next Language” posts
Epicenter of Languages – Post 103
Holy Envy – Post 102
Watchman – Post 101
First the Blade – Post 100
Marghi – Post 99
Talents – Post 98
Berom – Post 97
God is my Wit(h)ness – Post 96
Scarlet Chested Sun Bird – Post 95
Fountains of Water – Post 94
A Glorious Landing – Post 93
Tale of Three Sisters – Post 92
Collaboration – Post 91
Pick Your Fears Carefully – Post 90
Mixteco del Progreso – Post 89
Go – Post 88
Those Word Lists – Post 87
Altars – Post 86
Oh, for a Thousand Tongues – Post 85
Voices in the Wilderness – Post 84
Nigeria – First Impressions – Post 83
From the Land of Nod – Post 82
Tribute to Mexico – 1967 – 2022 – Post 81
Miniaturization – Post 80
Knowing The Times – Post 79
God Comes to a Dirty World – Post 78
Corn in Mexico – Post 77
When the Church Says No – Post 76
War – Post 75
Theirs Is the Kingdom – Post 74
The Hippie Era Lives On – Post 73
Genesis of a Recording Set – Post 72
Back Tracking – Post 71
Witnesses- Post 70
Who Is Your Owner? – Post 69
An Unsolicited Endorsement – Post 68
Oral Tradition – Post 67
Works of  Man – Post 66
Deliverance – Post 65
New Discoveries – Post 64
The Wall of Pain – Post 63
Is There a Place for the Gospel in Your Story – Post 62
The Love Pyramid – Post 61
Obsession – Post 60
Verb Tenses in Hebrews – Post 59
The Unseen Weapon – Post 58
The Gospel Arrives in Zapoteco:Elotepec – Post 57
Fishing – GRN Style – Post 56
A New Day in Mexico – Post 55
Seeking – Post 54
Pick Your Battles – Post 53
How Big Is Your God? – Post 52
A Muted Gospel? – Post 51
Dedication Service for Marcos – Post 50
Two Weeks, Two Months, Two Years – Post 49
What Will You Give to Jesus – Post 48
Special Assignment – Post 47
The Good and the Best – Post 46
How Many Languages Are There? – Post 45
Verifying Speech Varieties – Post 44
Those God Things – Post 43
Meet Notch, the Desert Cottontail – Post 42
The Lost Languages – Post 41
The Rest of the Yoke – Post 40
What About Those Last Languages – Post 39
A Yoke That Fits – Post 38
The Other Side – Post 37
It Is Finished – Post 36
On the Ground in Culiacan – Post 35
I Will Go With Thee – Post 34
Unseen Warfare – Post 33
God of the Gaps – Post 32
The Father of Faith Missions – Post 31
WAIT – Post 30
Our Ultimate Weapon – Post 29
What Are You Doing Here – Post 28
Recordist Training Course Update – Post 27
Still Shameful – Post 26
Numbers Update – Post 25
The Gospel and Idolatry – Post 24
Could Ye Not Pray – Post 23
John the Baptist and the New Normal – Post 22
Genesis of a Script – Post 21
Embena Experiences – Post 20
An Easter Like No Other – Post 19
Go Or Stay Home – Post 18
The Next Language – Post 17
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