• W. Austin Gardner

What to accomplish in the first two years 5



Being a learner. Responding to the inevitable cultural differences with humility as a learner is a second step.


1. We must come to a knowledge of all aspects of the people's culture.


2. We must participate with them in their lifestyle;


3.We must demonstrate genuine empathy with them. Empathy means the projection of one's personality into the personality of another to understand the person better; the ability to share in another's emotions, thoughts, or feelings.


4. Be a student of their culture. Missionaries must become not only students of the culture but also belongers in that culture. When missionaries fail to achieve genuine identification, their ministries are often limited to areas that don't require an insider's performance. If you do not become one of them, you may never have a ministry that will have a significant impact if you do not learn the language. You must pay the price to learn and become one of them.


5. Communication is the goal. The ultimate goal of identification is not to see how much like the other culture one can become, but how profoundly and effectively one can learn to communicate with those of the different culture.


6. Your major emphasis is on language, the primary symbol of identification in your host community. When you try to learn it, they know that you mean business--they are worth something to you because you make an effort to communicate on their terms. You remember a little each day and put it to use. You talk to a new person every day. You say something new every day. You gradually reach the point where you understand and are understood a little. You can learn a lot in three months. You are a learner. Please talk with me and help me.


7. You can successfully learn a new language if three conditions are met.


  • You live where the new language is spoken.

  • You are motivated to learn a new language. Motivation is a determination that results in a decision of the will. I will learn.

  • You know how to proceed with language learning, step by step and day by day.

1. Prepare what you need for the day.

2, Practice what you prepare

3. Communicate what you know

4. Evaluate your needs and progress so you will know what to prepare for the next day.

5. Practice, practice. From the first day, learners should use what they learn, practice, and interact with people.


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