Thoughts after the trip to Germany

It’s been a few weeks since I returned from what I called my “preview” trip to Germany. Do you remember that? No? That’s OK. There was a conference held in Germany some distance from the Wycliffe Europe office, and the attendees needed some computer support and services throughout the week. Many of them were Wycliffe workers, but some were not. I was invited by my future co-worker to come and help. I didn’t have to pray very hard about accepting that invitation.

The conference gave me a lot to think about, so far as ministry goes – what I do, who I do it for, and why I do it. I think the “what” is not a big deal. There are a lot of people who have computer skills – there are even many Christians who have computer skills. God appears to have gifted me with the ability to study and remember the things related to computing that place me squarely between the beasts and their users, ready to help. So, Lord, how do you want me to use this?

All of my co-laborers at the conference work, in some way, with people who live in sensitive situations. You can’t go there, or you can’t talk about this or that, or you can’t do this or that, etc. Some of them have to use other names for themselves or the places where they work. Perhaps you get the idea now. My point here is that my brothers and sisters are taking on some risk in order to fulfill Jesus’ mission for His Church. They are doing a great thing – possibly one of the greatest things. When they gather together to talk about what they’re doing, to share ideas, to learn from one another, to encourage each other, and to improve how the message of Jesus gets to people who desperately need to hear it, I don’t want them to have to worry about stupid technological problems getting in their way.

These are capable people, mind you, who use technology every day in their work – it often forms the center of their own ministries. They can solve many of their own problems. But when the purpose of their attending a conference is to learn and to become a better servant of Jesus, computer problems should not weigh them down. So I work in the background to relieve them of that burden.

Now let’s think about who they’re serving. We hear a lot in the media today about people who create fear when they move to other countries and start lives there, or about people who engage in hostility against “us” because of the cultures and nation-states we’re part of. “We” worry a lot over these people. Politicians and pundits argue on the TV and the radio about how to handle them. I’m sure you get my drift.

When I sat there at this conference, though, listening to one presentation after another, I thought, “This is the solution to all those worries.” Not that my colleagues were concerned with solving high political and social matters – they’re not. But they’re approaching the problem at the individual level – the Jesus level – and addressing the spiritual root of it all. And it would blow your mind to hear about the harvest of souls that their work is producing. I am ready to commit the rest of my life to make more and more of that happen.

If you’re a part of our ministry to all these people – in praying, in giving, in spreading the word – you are a part of what I am convinced is the best way to drive out fear and hate in this world. Don’t underestimate your place in the big picture. You’re laying and maintaining the foundation for that “harvest of souls”, and we appreciate you keeping us up and running. Hoo-yah!

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David Liddle

I grew up outside of Philadelphia in Media, PA, and graduated from The Citadel in 1994. I joined Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1995 and went to Africa for the first time in 1997. Katherine and I were married in November 1998.