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 Ethnos Joti missionary team in 1994. The team’s tasks included culture and language 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 in the only language the Jotis understood – their own! Nearly everyone in the village put their faith in Christ.
When Ethnos had to leave tribal areas in 2005, Steve and Sharon had to leave their dear friends, the Jotis. The Sanfords transferred to Ethnos360’s newly developed Wayumi program in central Pennsylvania where their experiences as tribal church planters have blessed the 2,500-plus participants who have attended the Wayumi program so far.
Now serving on the Ethnos360 Executive Board, Steve Sanford also continues as a Wayumi instructor, as well as speaking at colleges and churches.
The Sanfords have three sons. The two oldest are currently in training to serve as missionaries with Ethnos. Their youngest is in high school and living at home.