Youth With a Mission
Concerning language study before departure vs. on the field, (EWC&M Report 3 (Fall 1995) 4-6), now that I have seen both, I think starting before departure is best, as long as it is through a conversationally oriented program like Russian Language Ministries (RLM). The main reason is to develop a grammatical understanding for the language. This provides a framework, like the steel girders of a building, that a new missionary can build upon once on the field. While at RLM, another missionary couple, back after two years on the field, said to me, "You don't know how fortunate you are to get this foundation first." While in Irkutsk, several missionaries with no prior training said, "We can really see how your time at RLM helped." That being said, for more advanced study, there is no substitute for being on the field. My conversation skills and comprehension did not develop nearly as quickly stateside as they did in Irkutsk.
Church Resource Ministries
Milwaukee, WI / Irkutsk, Siberia
Written permission is required for reprinting or electronic distribution of any portion of the East-West Church & Ministry Report.
© 1996 Institute for East-West Christian Studies