About ten years ago I began to develop a manual for field researchers. In the manual I also wrote things that I hope will encourage the Etnopedia community. The kind of work we do is not easy. We look at unreached people group information day after day. It can be very discouraging seeing thousands of people groups with no missionaries or scriptures in their languages. The enemy wants to discourage us so that eventually we quit. This is spiritual warfare. But be encouraged, the warfare is two sided.2 Thessalonians 2:16 – May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
The spiritual warfare is two sided.
1. Positive Warfare (that you are waging) Your work is bringing clarity to the Body of Christ empowering them to complete Gods plan to finish the Great Commission.
2. Negative Warfare (that is being waged against you) The nature of your work can attract spiritual battles against you such as discouragement.
One main way that the warfare comes is discouragement. Discouragement in your mind as well as outside your mind. I don’t know how many times I have thought, there are just too many unreached people groups. Who will go to them all? Does the Church really believe they all need to be reached? Does the Church really have what it takes to go to these most remote, difficult groups? Battle these thoughts! Don’t let others or the situation get you down.
As researchers and translators, you will face many battles in your interior and exterior. I don’t know which is worse. People do not understand the value of your work so they will be indifferent to it. When you want to talk about your work or unreached peoples they change the subject. You will talk to your family and friends and other Christians and it will appear that don’t understand or care. The enemy uses all those experiences as discouragment to you. Then you remember them, too. You have to put them out of your mind. After nearly 20 years of researching unreached peoples, it is one of the only ways I have found to deal with all the discouragement. I have to put it out of my mind.
You must know that what you do is bringing truth, clarity, vision and inspiriation. People are being inspired to go and do something of eternal value in the Kindgom of God. Your work opens the eyes to many new missionary candidates who will be going in the future too. Put the thoughts out of your mind when they come and allow the Holy Spirit to encourage you. This takes work and a conscious effort to put the discouraging thoughts out of your mind. When discouragement or negative thoughts come, go to this verse:
Philippians 4 – 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Your work is extremely valuable to God and extremely dangerous to the enemy. The longer the Christian movement is unaware of what they need to do, the longer the enemy has to build up strongholds. Every profile you create is another part of HIS plan that’s made known. You are participating in giving God’s plan to the Church so that He can finally bring an end to this material world. (1 Corinthians 15:20-28) Those who read your profiles are now conscious of God’s plan and can choose to get involved. Teenagers, adolescents and even children are reading your profiles and God is speaking to them about the Great Commission. Keep up your encouragement, many hundreds or even thousands of future missionaries will be blessed by your work!