Almost a year ago, Calvary entered into a partnership with Greek Bible College in Athens to allow our students the opportunity to spend up to year studying abroad in Greece. This partnership came on the heels of recent opportunities that Calvary has had to take students on tours of the biblical sites of Greece and walk in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul. For the Fall semester of 2019, Elise Godsey (Intercultural Studies/ELL major) will be stepping out to take advantage of this opportunity and spending a semester in Greece, these are her thoughts...
“My name is Elise Godsey and I am a sophomore here at Calvary University majoring in Intercultural Studies and English Language Learner. I just started attending Calvary in January, for the Spring 2019 semester, and I already am beyond blessed by this college! I learned about Calvary at the beginning of Fall 2018, while I was attending my community college, and I was encouraged by Calvary staff to go ahead and apply to start attending right in January instead of waiting until the next year, and I am very glad I did because I have already had so many wonderful opportunities and experiences here.
Elise is second from the left.
While I was exploring the Calvary website last Fall to learn more about it I also learned about the opportunity to study abroad at the Greek Bible College in Athens, Greece. This really caught my attention and I instantly knew that I would love to have that opportunity. When I came to visit the school at the end of September, I was told that this study abroad opportunity was brand new and no one had done it yet, and this just made me all the more excited to pioneer this new program at Calvary!
I will be attending the Greek Bible College for the Fall 2019 semester, and I will be taking 3 classes that will directly transfer into the biblical studies part of my planner. The fourth class I take will be New Testament Greek, and that will count as an elective. It is so wonderful that I am getting to complete these Bible class requirements in a land of the Bible!
This chance to go attend college in Greece is one of the many reasons that I chose to attend Calvary, and I am so thankful that I will get to do it and for all the help I am receiving as I get ready! I am beyond excited to see what the Lord has planned for me to learn as I study there and for the ministry opportunities I may get as well! I appreciate your prayers as I embark on this new adventure in my life!” – Elise Godsey
My name is Josiah Stout, and I am currently in my second semester at Calvary pursuing an interdisciplinary degree in Intercultural/ELL studies. Going to Wayumi over spring break was a fantastic opportunity to get hands on experience in cross-cultural ministry, specifically tribal church planting. What a great time it was: traveling, spending time connecting with friends and missionaries, learning about the nuts and bolts of work with Ethnos 360, hiking in the woods and staying up all night—take me back! Truly, I believe God spoke to each of us individually on this trip in ways that will make a lasting impact.
Since a significant amount of time was spent traveling to and from Jersey Shore, PA, our group had fun entertaining ourselves through stories, active games, snacks, music and exercise (yes, all on the bus). On the trip back however, sleep became the more desirable option. Certainly, a lot of the fun that came with the trip was involved in this small, communal, 16 hour bus ride. Although experiences by themselves may be impactful, the friendships make them all the more worthwhile and meaningful.
The Wayumi campus was extremely beautiful and had a number of trails that zigzagged behind the buildings and up into the tall forests. Our group enjoyed walks alongside a wide creek that flowed along the boarder of the property. Some smaller streams ran off the trails and waterfalled their way down into the larger creek. I’m sure you can get a picture of how nice it was to explore and relish the beauty of the nature surrounding us. A great deal of our free time was spent hiking, including an adventurous 2:30-3:30a.m. hike our last night there. Still, had our group come for the scenery alone we would not have fully enjoyed our time there.
Breakfast ranged from 7-7:45 each morning, with the first class beginning at 8. Greg and Steve Sanford were the two instructors for the entire week. Both brothers were tribal missionaries in different parts of Venezuela, Greg to the Yanomamo tribe and Steve to the Joti tribe. Their sessions consisted on how to handle each step in the process of planting a thriving tribal church. This includes pre-field training, arrival on the field, tribal allocation, language and culture dedication, pre-teaching, evangelism, the developing church, and the continuing church. This is an estimated 25-year process if all goes smoothly. Before the gospel can be shared, missionaries must learn the language AND culture of the tribe. This is a very time-consuming process, consisting of 8-9-hour days for 2-5 total years. Long as it may seem, Steve and Greg ensured that there are no regrets!
Our group had the chance to enter a demo-village and practice language learning acquisition with a Yanomamo lady (Greg’s wife). The setup was very real and initially startling! Sitting next to a woman communicating with me in a different language left my mind racing for words that did not exist in my vocabulary (not to mention her appearance was strikingly different). We had each been given a clipboard with a list of English words along with the Yanomamo phrases for “hello” and “what is it?”. Our objective was to write the Yanomamo translation for the English words. We did this activity twice, first focusing on getting the sounds written down and secondly focusing on using the proper phonetic alphabet in our translation. It was so fascinating…and a lot to learn!
Learning how differences in culture affect communication and Bible translation was a big emphasis. Words and concepts such as grace, love, believe, king, law, Pharisee…etc. do not exist in many tribes. Therefore, the translators are challenged: trying to explain these terms without adding or taking away from the original meaning. For our demo activity, we had the challenge of translating Matthew 2:1-11 and Romans 6:1-5 for a tribe of Grade School English speakers who think like tribal people. There was a long list of words which we were forbidden to use in our translation. As Jordan Teeter and I wrestled our way through the Matthew translation, we soon realized how simple words such as “king” and “ruler” were hard to translate distinctively. The more we translated, the more love I felt for the Word of God. The privilege to have His Word in my native tongue! To think, roughly 1,636± distinct ethnic groups are still waiting for this privilege.
From mornings full of classes to afternoons of activities and free time, there was so much information for my mind to cultivate. Along with this cultivation came fun, new experiences such as butchering a pig and cooking it in the ground (the style of a Filipino Mumu). I would not have expected hot rocks to be able to thoroughly cook multiple layers of meat and potatoes over a period of 4 hours. Yet sure enough, we ate well that night! On top of this, I was always impacted by the stories pertaining to both the Yanomamo and Joti tribe. Unique cultural facts and stories are always intriguing, but to hear of how God transformed both tribes was powerful. The reception of the Joti tribe to the gospel was particularly remarkable. The entire tribe turned to follow Christ! Since the Joti only knew how to read out loud, the entire village was engrossed in a loud buzz of scripture reading. Their love for God’s Word is an example for me.
Having gone to Wayumi, I can better picture myself working in a tribal setting. Indeed, I quickly realized the work is not as glamorous as the stories we may often hear. The work is great and hard! Laborious and discouraging seem to be fitting adjectives. But what is my life? Am I really in control of my future? Am I willing to go and do what the Lord directs me to? Seeing and knowing the joy that unbelievers attain when they hear and accept Christ for the first time is a joy worth celebrating! How rewarding it would be to fulfill God’s command in this much needed and timely way!
I am so thankful to have had this time to step back and examine what God is doing on earth and how I can be a part of his work. It is truly something we all must take the time to do. Wayumi is certainly for anyone. It has helped me know how to go, support, pray, and see God’s passion for his worldwide church.
Calvary enjoys many great ministry partnerships with like-minded
organizations. One of those is Ethnos 360. Ethnos 360 has been planting
churches among the least reached people groups of the world since 1942.
Initially founded as New Tribes Mission, they focus on reaching some of the
most remote tribal people on the planet.
Over Spring Break, six Calvary students along with Burnham Center Director, Joshua Paxton and Ethnos 360 missionary, James Gleaves took part in Ethnos 360’s Wayumi course in Jersey Shore, PA. The course offers a glimpse into tribal church planting.
Students learned in both class time and practical hands on training exercises how to plant a church in a remote tribal location. Beginning with language and culture acquisition and moving on towards translation, teaching the Bible and training indigenous leaders, the students both learned and were challenged to consider making reaching “the next towns” a driving force in their lives.
Some of the more practical aspects included time spent with missionaries experiencing what it is like to learn an unwritten language for the first time and then the challenges of producing a good translation that the people can rely on. Ethnos 360 missionaries with many years of experience shared their personal stories from the field. Students even had the opportunity to butcher a pig and cook it according to the style of a Filipino Mumu.
Through our partnership with Ethnos 360; Wayumi is available for credit at Calvary. In the coming weeks I will share the reflections of one of the students who went with us on the trip.
Calvary’s 2019 Conference on Global Engagement (C.O.G.E.) featured Greg Sanford as the main speaker. His sessions challenged all in attendance to “stick to the business.” For Christians that “business” is the Great Commission. Mr. Sanford was a church planter in the Yanomamo tribe for 12 years, so he has first-hand experience and stories to tell. In addition to the four main sessions, students had the opportunity to attend seminars dealing with various missions-related topics. The Langmade Room was filled with display tables and more than 40 representatives from 25 different organizations. The whole campus spent time in prayer on Wednesday morning, and the evenings also offered more exposure to what God is doing in the world through presentations and prayer.
Next week Calvary will play host to over 45 missions representatives from more than 25 agencies! The annual Conference on Global Engagement brings together alumni, partner ministries and students to learn about what is happening around the world to reach the lost. We will be joined this year by Greg Sanford, Director of Ethnos 360’s Wayumi program. He will be speaking with students regarding reaching some of the most remote people groups in the world.
Students will also have the opportunity to hear from visiting missions representatives in seminars and special evening activities.