One of the major goals that many new missionaries want to achieve is learning how to preach in another language. But as many missionaries can testify, learning how to engage in small talk and buy things at the market is totally different than standing up to preach. Public speaking can be intimidating your own language, never mind somebody else’s.
But even when you can preach confidently in your own language, the reality of preaching in a second language enforces a certain humility upon the preacher. You can never be 100% sure that what is coming out of your mouth is exactly what you want to say, or whether your listeners are understanding the point you are trying to make. If they aren’t getting it, is it a content issue or a language issue? Preaching in a second language is fraught with the potential for irrecoverable pronunciation errors and poor word choices. At the very least, the range and depth of what you are able to express in a second language is somewhat less than what you’d be able to do in your native language. And even if your language is decent, do you understand the culture? In addition to an intimate acquaintance with the Bible, ability and fluency in both language and culture are essential for preaching cross-culturally in a second language. But for newer missionaries (or even more seasoned missionaries), knowledge of both language and culture are a work in progress.