Post 85 / The Next Language
April 12, 2022
Oh, for a Thousand Tongues
As a boy I remember thinking how amazing that there could be a thousand languages in the world. Little did I know how insufficient that number was. I couldn’t have imagined that in the country of Nigeria alone there are close to a thousand languages.
For two weeks we have been going through the different data-bases with Nigerian staff who know the country and have been working for generations to accumulate the 528 languages that are on our free 5fish.mobi app.
What we did not know until now was the number of languages that are missing from 5fish that were recorded and have masters here in Jos. We did a complete inventory of the master cassettes and CD discs and found that over 50 languages have never gotten in the system. It is possible that some of those originals were lost in the mail. Most recordists elsewhere in the world today are able to upload edited recording programs easily, but the Nigerian internet does not support that luxury.
I will be taking many of those masters to Australia with me to get them ingested. I double-checked this afternoon to make sure none of those were old material that should be dropped but the response was an emphatic affirmation: all of that is useful and valuable.
As we pray and plan how to work to get to those thousand languages in a very hostile environment, we are trusting the Lord for men and for even less conspicuous recording equipment. Everything is on the table. White faces will need to stay in the shadows — even in town.
I am thankful that neither Mexico nor Nigeria joined the western mission flight of nearly every Christian mission I know of, away from Christian sounding names. Gospel Recordings became Global Recordings. Our Mexicans stuck with the Gospel- (Buenas Nuevas) and Nigeria stayed with Gospel Recordings. I was met at the airport in Jos with a van that said boldly on each side, “Telling the Story of Jesus in Every Language.” Just as prominently on both the front and the back was the word, “Missionary.” There will be no hiding and it is a pleasure to work with those who are not ashamed of the Gospel.
In that posture we can ask for wisdom with confidence. The work is the Lord’s. We are not ashamed of Him and He is not ashamed of us. How to find and walk in those works that are His should be a lot less cluttered than it might be in the West. We ask you to pray with us to that end.
We can pray and sing with a lot more specificity when we ask for one thousand languages from Nigeria. In fact, on our final day of this reconnaissance trip we joined in singing all the verses of the familiar hymn, “Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing.”
Our draft goal is to start with ten new men that are willing to be missionaries to the unreached languages. They will start as language investigators, probably going out on the back of hired motorcycles to get word lists and make first contact. If language helpers are identified they will be encouraged to come in where we can record in makeshift studios here in town. The target will be that some of those investigators will want to go on to become recordists. As our reach from the central part of Nigeria grows longer, some of those investigators may actually become field recordists to multiply the recording capacity of Joshua and Solomon and Nathan and myself.
At this point the team is serious enough to begin to pencil it out to see who will go and what that will cost. Kish says this is very daring in a political environment where the audacious impunity of bandits is in the news every day, raiding military establishments and even kidnapping kings in a couple of places. Most mission outreaches are drawing back.
Is there any good reason why only the enemies of God should be audacious as we follow the King of Kings and assume His authority which is over both heaven and earth?
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