Taking a trip to a foreign mission field is an experience like no other. It gives you a front row seat to the power of God at work in the world through willing servants. This month’s Serve documents one summer intern’s experiences. Grace Welsh worked with BMM’s Bible translation team, Bibles International (BI) this past summer doing literacy work in Chad, Africa. Below we have shared excerpts from Grace’s letters to her support network at home. Her experiences show the many valuable lessons one can learn doing a summer missions trip.
The stark need for the gospel
Just as we stepped out of the airport, I witnessed my first Muslim call to prayer. It’s amazing how quickly the loudspeaker blends into the background of life (mosques are everywhere in Chad), but it’s also a continual reminder of the needy spiritual hearts of people here.
We had the opportunity to share our salvation testimonies in front of a few Muslim friends. The Koran describes Allah as unknowable. Pray that these friends would continue to seek the truth of Christ and come to understand that Christianity is not just a list of facts but a relationship with a knowable God. These truths are lifechanging!
Lessons from local believers
The prayers of the Mbum [Chadian people group] made an impression on me. It is not uncommon here to pray before, in the middle of, and after common experiences like a hike, a walk, or an extended conversation. Our prayers reveal a lot about our relationship with God. If we have a close relationship with God, we are talking to Him often and as someone who knows us well. There can never be too much prayer! The Bible says to pray without ceasing! I took this practical lesson from the Mbum – let it be normal to stop and pray.
Drawing nearer to God
Working with language is studying a part of God’s creation. As we study language, we are able to appreciate the omniscience and infinite intelligence of our Creator God. He created language with incredible order and purpose, and we use it to display our identity as people. Helping develop the languages of various groups is a way to glorify God and help His people. Ultimately, it’s not about languages. It’s about people and growth in their relationships with the Lord. It’s wonderful to use our skills for God’s glory and other’s good!
From Wednesday on, I’ve battled some type of sickness. Lessons learned from this experience are many. One, what a blessing it is to have our health. God is sovereign over our bodies, and it is by His grace that we live well. In addition to that, I’m thankful for the great care that we can show one another through struggles like sickness. Sympathy and gentleness go a long way. I need to work on both! It’s also important to remember that God challenges us with uncomfortable circumstances to do His good work of spiritual growth in us.
Understanding the need on the field
When we’ve grown up in a fully literate culture with the Bible in our language for many generations, it’s easy to underestimate the power of the Bible and its teaching. This week I learned that literacy builds a foundation for a church's spiritual growth. I got to watch a moment of realization on Thursday as the two groups sat in a giant circle under the mango trees. They gradually realized that more literature could exist in their languages and that at least some members of every church could become good readers to share God's Word with the congregation. One pastor stood up and said “We have never thought about these things in this way before. We will have to take time to discuss how to do this.” It was amazing to watch their perspective change and to understand the potential that literacy has (1) to help countless people grow through the collective study of God’s Word and (2) to fortify the church against false teaching.
Seeing the need for more workers
I’ve gained a lot of understanding of how BI’s ministry happens here, and one thing stands out. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few! Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest! Pray for our generation that we would step out in faith to serve the Lord. Pray that God would continue to bring Christians to every corner of the world to share the universal and forever satisfying truth of Christ.
Praise God for lots of spiritual learning throughout this process! It’s impossible at this point to know exactly where I’ll land in missions. As I submit to God and open myself up to the unknown, God has given an amazing amount of peace. True peace comes in submitting to and trusting God, not in trying to be in control ourselves! God is graciously reinforcing lessons from the internship experience and shedding light on sin areas to work on – praise the Lord!
Bibles International Intern 2019 & 2022
Grace Welsh served as a Bibles International Intern to Chad, Africa. She is currently a student at Bob Jones University studying Cross Cultural Service. If you would like to consider serving on a summer internship contact Travis Gravley at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more ways to serve.