“Jesus Loves Me” in Five Languages

first-class-asian-bible-studentsWhere can you go to hear the song “Jesus Loves Me” sung in five different languages at the same time? And why would people from five different languages get together? The answer to both of these questions is summed up in another first for IGo – IGo’s Asian Bible School.

As we enter our third year of being in Thailand and training North American young people in missions, we enjoy doing some things for the second and third time, instead of always starting something new and figuring out how to make it more productive. Yet, this year we are starting something new again, and it has been exciting.

Although the initial goal in starting the Institute for Global Opportunities was to train young people in missions on the foreign field, we have always had the desire and goal to have Asian students come to IGo’s campus and receive Biblical training. As of March 2, 2009, it is now a reality. IGo’s first Asian Bible School is three weeks long, consisting of: three classes, testimony/sharing times, ministry nights, recreation, and the blessing of interaction with brothers in Christ from other cultures. The classroom training consists of “Biblical Theology of Missions” taught by Collier Berkshire, “Interpersonal Relationships” taught by Pastor Kiat, and “Gospel of John” which I am teaching. Our student body consists of: two men from South Korea, two men for Hyderabad, India, and three men from Mizoram, India.

I have been really enjoying the blessing of teaching the Gospel of John to these men and watching them drink in the teaching from the Word. They are hungry to learn and grow in the Word of God. Before we began classes, I was a little nervous about how it would go since English is all of these Continued on men’s second or third language – not their first. “What if they can’t understand me?” “What if I talk too fast?” I am sure both of these things have happened more than once, yet God has been faithful in giving illustrations that they can relate to and basic English grammar so they can understand the message. How do we know when they have connected with us? –the smiles on their faces, nodding of the heads, laughter, tears and questions – all of these confirm to us as teachers that they understand.

The testimonies of these brothers are so encouraging! One brother told me last evening that he is so thankful to God that he can be here. He said he grew up in the slums of India and did not receive a good education. But because of a missionary in his area, he has come to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, been able to receive teaching from the Bible, and receive some basic training in the English language. This brother has never traveled outside of India until now, and is so grateful for the help of others in providing him with the money for a passport and the plane ticket to come to Chiang Mai. He said, “This is the highlight of my life, coming here to study!”

Another blessing for me has been our prayer times together. Tonight I sat in a circle with these seven brothers and we all prayed in our own language – listening to these men cry out to God in their own language so they could express themselves more fully was very touching.

Why are we doing this? What do we have to offer these men?

Two blessing that we as North American Anabaptist have are access to much Biblical resources and training, and knowing the English language as our primary language. The two things that bring these brothers together here in our Asian Bible School is a desire to receive training in the Word of God, and knowing a little bit of English. Because of those two common factors, we are able to serve them.

Why has God blessed us with knowing the English language? Why has God allowed us to have such a rich heritage of Biblical teaching? Is it because God wants us to have large communities of believers so we can share our Biblical knowledge with each other and enjoy a safe place of fellowship? Have we been blessed so we can consume it upon ourselves? God forbid! We have been blessed to be a blessing. We have been given so much, so we have to share with those who have so little. That is what IGo’s Asian Bible School is all about – sharing the blessings that God has given us with those who do not have these blessing.

This work would not be possible without those of you who faithfully pray for IGo, encourage the staff, send students, give financially, and the list goes on. I want you to know that this is a work that has been made possible because of many believers working together, not just those of us here in Chiang Mai. Thank you so much for being a part of this work in the way that God has called you to! What a joy to serve together in His Kingdom!

By Rick Rhodes, IGo Instructor (I Witness News/Spring 2009)

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