FROM THE PROFS: Gospel overcomes language barrier
Each Friday, Dean of the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions Keith Eitel leads a student evangelism team to Rosemont Park located near Southwestern’s campus. During a recent trip, he met an older man who had brought his granddaughter for a day in the park. While she played on a nearby swing, Eitel introduced himself to the man, but it quickly became clear that the man’s limited English would make a Gospel conversation difficult. But even with such a challenge, Eitel’s preparedness allowed him to still share the Gospel.
Eitel remembered an app he had on his phone that would enable him to present the Gospel message: the 1 Cross app produced by the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC). The app contains several short videos with speakers of nearly 40 different languages including Spanish, Chinese, Thai and Arabic. Each video presents a testimony of the speaker’s salvation as well as an invitation to respond to the Gospel.
Eitel played the three-minute Spanish-language video for the man. As the man held Eitel’s phone, he concentrated on each word spoken, carefully considering the message before him.
Near the end of the presentation, the speaker invited the listener to respond, reciting an example prayer for the person to repeat. At that moment, the man removed his cowboy hat, gently placed it over his heart, and bowed his head in prayer.
He repeated aloud each word expressed in the video, confessing his sins and a desire to follow Christ. “It was clear that he was genuine in his response and prayer to trust Christ,” Eitel says.
Reflecting on such a unique interaction, Eitel says this and many other tools like it have enabled new generations to share the Gospel with people from different cultures and backgrounds, and even with those who speak a different language. He says one’s phone is used to connect and communicate with people every day, but it can also be the very item that enables someone to present the Gospel.
Although it is not his primary evangelism tool, Eitel says his phone has been a helpful tool to give people the Gospel in their native language. “If you can determine what language it is that the person speaks, then there is a good likelihood there will be a version for them there,” Eitel says, adding that language barriers do not always have to be a hindrance when it comes to sharing the Gospel.
To learn more about the 1 Cross app, see here.