Missionaries use practical skills to advance Gospel
During the seven years Ben Murray and his wife Jessica waited for the Lord to send them overseas, Ben built up a somewhat unusual skillset for a missionary.
Though Ben and Jessica both shared a calling to go to the nations, Ben never felt led toward vocational ministry. Instead, one of several jobs he held was in their town’s Public Works Department where he fixed problems that came with maintaining their small community. His days were filled with repairing water lines, mowing parks, filling potholes and learning how to resourcefully manage limited funds.
Since the Murrays began serving in Southeast Asia last year, he’s already seen these practical skills put to good use for the spread of the Gospel. He helped build a recording studio at a community center run by believers. The studio has opened opportunities to reach minority people groups with the Gospel.
In the country the Murrays serve in, there are many minority people groups. Their languages are distinct from the country’s national language. Many are only oral languages. Without a written language, it is difficult to teach others the language or to create resources to share the Gospel with them.
One helpful resource is recordings of Bible stories, and the studio at the community center has provided a way to create those. Since the recording studio’s construction was completed, approximately 20 Bible stories have been recorded for one people group who previously had no known Gospel resources.
Not long after, two national believers came to the community center with a visitor from one of the country’s most remote unreached people groups. They spread out a map to show where this people group lived.
“You see that town all the way at the edge of the map?” Ben remembered them asking. “It’s a few hours past that.”
The visitor was willing to teach them his language, but they were struggling to communicate and understand each other. Workers at the center taught all three of them a simple language learning method that didn’t require a shared common language. Additionally, they were also able to use the studio and make recordings of stories the believers can continue to listen to as they learn.
Ben said it has been very humbling to see how God is at work drawing those in even the most forgotten corners of the country to Himself.
“Those two guys, they don’t have much, but they’ve given it up to learn this new language and go to this remote village, all for the sake of the Good News,” Ben said. “It’s just really cool to see the Father working in that way.”
Jessica, a musician, worked with the two believers to record translations of two worship songs in the people group’s language. They also began working on an original worship song.
She remembers it being a messy, unique process as the group sat around trying to figure out the best way to communicate words like “God” and “heaven” for an unwritten language of a people group with no Gospel presence among them. Though it was challenging, and the original song isn’t finished yet, Jessica said it was still thrilling to hear verses being put together.
“Tears filled my eyes and hope filled my heart as we heard what was likely the first lyrics of worship to our God in this language,” she said.
Though the studio is just beginning to get off the ground, Ben is hopeful for its potential to continue furthering Gospel spread among the country’s diverse people groups.
Some names have been changed for security.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stella McMillian* is a missionary and contributing writer for IMB.