Did you know, there are over 7000 spoken languages in the world? Wikipedia says that as of September 2020 the full bible has been translated into 704 languages and just the New Testament has been translated into an additional 1,551 and portions of the bible into 1,160 languages. That means approximately 5,400 to 6,300 people do not have access to a bible in their own language. Some languages don’t even have an alphabet. Some languages are “tonal” so translators have to make up something for that sound when they create an alphabet. There has to be an alphabet before anything can be written down. So… how are they going to learn about Him or hear about Him without a preacher? Thus, the mission of Ethnos360. They’re preparing the ones to go to teach.
We just spent three weeks volunteering on a SOWER project at Ethnos360 in Roach, Missouri. Roach is a small community of about 1,100 people in central Missouri. The closest town is Camdenton, Missouri. https://sowerministry.org/
Formerly, Ethnos360 was known as New Tribes Mission. New Tribes Mission was 75 years old when its name changed from New Tribes Mission to Ethnos360. According to their website https://ethnos360.org/ Ethnos is the nations Christ referred to when He commanded his followers to make disciples of all nations in Matthew 28:19. The 360 represents the globe, all 360 degrees.
We were at this SOWER project location in Missouri with one other couple and worked on a variety of projects to assist them in maintaining their training campus. We were repairing, remodeling, patching and painting, cleaning and sewing.
While we were there, we learned so much about life as a missionary. I believe, most if not all the staff were missionaries in a variety of countries before coming to work at Ethnos360. They are there either as teachers, leaders, mentors or in other staffing roles such as maintenance, construction, grounds crew and childcare. All are still supported by their missionary support team.
We were fortunate to have a student, a missionary leader and a missionary staff couple spend some time with us telling about life as a missionary in an unreached area of a country they served in and one as a student studying linguistics preparing to work on bible translastion in an area with there was none.
Most of the students spend about 2 years in preparation for a future assignment. For those going to an unreached area, I understand when they first arrive in a new country, they spend some time in an area that is more established and usually with another missionary family to get acclimated to the country, learn more about the culture and language before they go into a remote, bush, setting.
Concerns they’ll have when they go into these remote settings are going to be housing, furniture, electricity, cooking, food, pure water and more. They have to prepare for this knowing they’ll need to bring in almost everything they’ll need. They know a want is not necessarily a need. They’ll have just the basic necessities.
This location of Ethnos360 has an Off-Grid Tech training facility. We were fortunate in that they provided a tour for us. They showed us how they design a package that will provide for their basic needs in country. They put together a “plug and play” system that when it arrives in the field, the missionary doesn’t have to build anything. They have a battery pack along with solar panels and an inverter that can generate enough electricity to run a fan, a light, a radio, a small computer, a refrigerator as well as a few other small appliances.
All the equipment has been thoroughly tested and modified to run off this type of current. The refrigerator is a modified small chest type freezer. They use a chest type instead of an upright refrigerator because when the lid on the chest type is opened, the cold air stays down. When you open the door on an upright, the cold air comes out and the warm tropical air and humidity goes in and that causes the refrigerator to use more energy.
I wasn’t able to take notes, or even more pictures but as I remember the water filter is a combination of a charcoal filter to filter out the minute organisms and an added UV light filter will take out even smaller organisms, making the water safe to drink.
The picture here is of an aquarium. They didn’t have fish in it at the time we were there but it is an aquarium. You can see an oblong shaped charcoal filter in the middle, a UV light under the cover to show how this filter can work to make even the water from an aquarium, or a river, safe to drink. As we were moving about on the tour and listening to the explanations, I just didn’t get the opportunity to take more pictures of more of the supplies they have available.
Another cool thing about that blue bucket water filter system is this. It’s a patented system and can be sold to those going in to restricted companies under a retail business visa and then be used as an evangelizing tool.
The technology and the equipment they package and send to the field is not without cost. The cost to put the whole system together and ship it out is in the range of $20,000. The want it to work, maintain all it’s features, ship safely and make it so that it’s practically ready to use upon arrival. The most care is put in the design, construction and shipment of this product.
Another thing missionaries going into remote areas have to be able to do is provide housing for themselves. They’ll build a structure, basically a frame, and wrap it in plastic to start off with. Then they’ll add a divider for a separate room, shelving, build a table etc.
To practice for this they are sent with some supplies into the woods on the Ethnos360 +/- acre property for 18 days. We walked around that area and made a video. Hopefully, you can see what this primitive structure would look like. After time, they can improve it and add more features, but this is what they’ll have to start with.
The water purification and the power systems that were mentioned in the video are pictured above.
By the time you see this post, we will have left this project and will be picking up another one in about two months. In the meantime, I will be adding a couple more posts on some of the other areas we have visited or passed through as we continue living fulltime in our RV.
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