Just imagine that you come upon a sign somewhere that reads, “Heart cerebral disease sufferer ascend the Great Wall to please watch for.”
It sounds important, even urgent, doesn’t it? But no matter how many times you read it, you just don’t get it.
“What are you supposed to do?” Rachel asks. “Does the sign really apply to you? You understand each word, but all together, the words have no meaning. Although the sign is in English, it is as if it were another language. It does not communicate the important message that the writer intended to communicate.”
This principle is very much what motivates Rachel to spend so much time learning to speak Nahuatl. She and her co-workers have the most important message of all to communicate to the Nahuatl people—the Good News about God sending His Son to become the sacrifice for the sin of the world; the bright and hopeful news of light and life and redemption through Jesus Christ.
“We want to make sure we can speak clearly, to speak just as they would. We do not want to sound ‘foreign’ when we use Nahuatl words,” Rachel explains.
To that end, the Nahuatl church planting team has recently finished an eight-day advanced language workshop with the goal of learning how to analyze Nahuatl on a discourse level. This allows them to understand how the Nahuatls tell stories. “By now,” she continues, “we know a lot of words and we want to make sure we’re putting them all together in a way that is clearly understandable to the Nahuatl people.”
She quotes 1 Corinthians 14:10-11: There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance. Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me.
“We don’t want to sound foreign when we present God’s Truth,” Rachel says. “We want God’s Word to be understandable.”
Please pray for Rachel and her co-workers as they study and learn. Ask God to give them wisdom and understanding as they analyze some of the advanced features of the Nahuatl language. Ask Him to pour His grace upon their diligent language studies so that God will speak clearly and powerfully through His Word to the Nahuatl people.