March 29, 2016

Why I Missed Mission ConneXion Northwest

By Joy Miska

Joy is a student taking courses at the Canada Institute of Linguistics with the aim to become a Literacy and Education Technician for Wycliffe.

Joy MiskaI really appreciate Mission ConneXion Northwest (MCNW). I have gone for many years to gain wisdom through workshops, to get encouraging books about ordinary people who’ve spent their lives pointing others to Christ, and to search for a missional organization that could use someone like me.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand the thought of being stuffed into a dreary cubicle with my life stuck on “repeat,” especially if my work isn’t eternally significant. I have the talents and skill-set of a copy-editor, though; and I feared even missional organizations would want to hide me in a cubicle with no company but copy I’d have to fix. Still, I didn’t know what else to aim for, so I kept looking for missional organizations that wanted to use people with skill-sets like mine in a more front-lines way.

At MCNW 2015, I talked with someone at the Wycliffe booth who explained that his organization could use my particular talents and my desire to do something of eternal value, and he got me running to get a taste of Bible translation at a 5-day TOTAL It Up! course. By the end, I was so amazed and humbled to realize that God could use me in an eternally worthwhile way that I raced the clock to apply to the Canada Institute of Linguistics (better known as “CanIL”) before registration closed. As you read this, I’m learning how to train people to write their own books and teach their own people the newly-developed written form of their own language.

Until I started taking classes this last summer, I hadn’t noticed many of the subtle details in my rearview mirror that God had used to mold me for the linguistic work He began to reveal to me at MCNW a year ago: When I learned Spanish, I noticed syntactic differences from English. I found myself able to mimic people’s accents and intonations. I figured out what some foreign words meant by reading multilingual product labels and watching “Sue Thomas, F.B.Eye.” My favorite fictional book since middle school is about a girl who quickly picks up languages and speaks to various peoples in their own tongues—which is one of the great values of Wycliffe, because people tie their language to their identity.

This year, for the first time since Steve Saint and Mincaye were among the plenary speakers, I missed Mission ConneXion Northwest. I’m sad to have missed it, but I’m glad the reason was that it has served one of its primary purposes: to project people into the mission field.

The work God has for me will probably keep me away from MCNW and my hometown a lot in the coming years; but, if I can do something that has such a powerful, eternal impact as helping people read the Bible in the language they understand best, it’s well worth being away from home… even if it’s for the rest of my life.