'We give to God to keep Him happy'

The urgency of language study is revealed in missionary Jim Elliott's conversation with his language helper.

Jim and Joy Elliott are preparing for the next stage of their language study.

The Elliott children are excited. Coral Walles and Porter Hampton--experienced missionaries trained to help people learn languages--are coming to visit their mom and dad. And Porter’s wife and four kids are coming along. So the Elliott children are counting the days and hours until their friends’ arrival.

Jim Elliott says he is theoretically ready for “check 4” in language. But he doesn’t exactly feel ready. And Joy says she definitely doesn’t feel ready yet, due to a recent illness. But the Elliotts are praying that God will give Coral and Porter wisdom to help them evaluate their language progress and to give them indications on what still needs work.

All this intense effort toward the Morop language has huge eternal implications.

Communication is essential, Joy shares. “As we try to communicate with the people, we are seeing more and more clearly the need for them to hear God’s message in their own language, not just by getting bits and pieces. Yesterday Jim’s language helper explained to us that every Sunday now they give money to God. Jim asked him, ‘Why do you do this?’ And he replied, ‘If we don’t, our gardens won’t produce, our wives will find other men, we won’t have children and our sago trees won’t have a good harvest. So we give to God to keep Him happy and blessing us.’”

Jim and Joy are burdened. The Morop people are living under great bondage and fear. They desperately need the whole truth of God’s Word.

This is the compelling reality that motivates the hard work and dedication of the Elliott’s language study. True, language opens the doors to cultural comprehension and to meaningful relationships with people. And those opportunities are valuable.

But most importantly, language fluency and translation open the door to reach into the hearts of the Morop people with the freedom and Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the redemption and hope that He offers.