What does it take to communicate the gospel cross-culturally to an isolated, monolingual people group? Having lived among the Joti people of Venezuela for 12 years, Steve and Sharon Sanford can answer that question from personal experience.
The Sanfords joined the Joti missionary team in 1994. The team’s tasks included language and culture study, Bible translation, curriculum development, medical and literacy work, and, finally, Bible teaching. What a joy it was for the team to finally present the gospel for the first time to the Joti people in the only language the Joti understood! Nearly everyone in the village put their faith in Christ.
When missionaries were ordered to leave tribal areas in 2005, Steve and Sharon had to leave the Joti people. What should they do next? Still passionate about getting the gospel to those who haven’t heard it, the Sanfords transferred to Ethnos360’s Wayumi program in central Pennsylvania. There they have used their experiences as church planters to bless and challenge the many participants who attend the Wayumi programs throughout the year seeking to learn more about cross-cultural church planting.
Now serving on the Ethnos360 Executive Leadership Team, Steve Sanford also continues as a Wayumi instructor, as well as speaking at colleges and churches.
The Sanfords have three married sons. The two oldest, along with their families, are currently serving overseas with Ethnos360. Their youngest is in training with Ethnos360 and seeking the Lord’s direction for a field of service.