A Voice of Encouragement
To Andi McMartin, meeting with missionaries isn’t really about evaluation and accountability. Gauging their progress in learning language and understanding culture is about helping them.
“A lot of consulting is just being that voice of encouragement for people, helping them to press on,” Andi said.
Helping in Three Ways
Andi McMartin and Rick Oickle are the New Tribes Mission consultants for culture and language acquisition in West Africa. Andi said three concepts sum up their ministries.
- Encouragement: Because of how huge a task it is to learn a language and understand a culture, “it’s easy for you to not see your own progress, and it’s naturally discouraging,” Andi said. “So the way we try to counter that discouragement is by helping people to see what they have progressed in and what they can do now that they couldn’t do before.”
- Problem solving: Part of that is helping people avoid ruts — or get out of ruts they didn’t even know they were in. At other times, they have questions. Andi said she tells missionaries, “I don’t have all the answers for you, but I’m willing to listen, to hear where you’re at, what you’re struggling with, and to help you find those answers.”
- Evaluation: A clear understanding of where the missionaries are in the process enables Andi to help them see what’s next. “It’s good to have somebody from the outside come in to help you see [that] these are all the things you can do really well [and] these are the pieces we still want to work on,” she said.
You Can Encourage Too
The Bible frequently tells us to “encourage one another.” You can be part of the ministry of encouragement as well. If you know a missionary, write to them. Tell them you prayed for them. Make a gift, or share an uplifting note.
Or find a missionary to encourage. Here’s a helpful tip for choosing one: You can’t go wrong. There is not one single missionary that God doesn’t want encouraged.