By Melissa Chesnut
Alicia loved to sing. She was on her way to earning a vocal performance degree when she felt the Lord speaking to her about changing her major. “I want you to be an evangelist,” He seemed to say.
Soon after, a friend approached Alicia and told her, “I think that you’re a natural linguist and don’t even realize it.”
“What if this is true?” Alicia thought. “If it is, I need to be using it for [God’s] glory.”
In chapel the next day, the professor shared about his experience as a missionary and about going to serve a people group where he wasn’t welcomed. He shared about the process of gaining their trust, loving them as a people, and learning their language before being able to share the Gospel with them. Eventually he was able to translate the New Testament into their language!
The testimony really impacted Alicia.
“What would I rather be doing?” she asked herself. She’d wanted to be a singer since she was four years old, but her fluency in both French and Spanish, as well as her interest and capability in language study, seemed to be a strength that God wanted to use for His glory.
So Alicia added minors in Spanish, French, and Intercultural Studies, and a concentration in linguistics.
In the summer of 2013, Alicia participated in a Wycliffe Discovery Trip* to Benin. During her trip, Alicia spent four weeks in a village working with the Saxwe project. The project had only recently been started, and mother tongue translators were still being trained. Because there was no Bible translated into their language, the church services had to be translated from French into the local language. Because of this process, sermons were short, and the service consisted mostly of worship music.
A different person preached every Sunday. Often the sermons seemed superficial and hollow to Alicia. At first this frustrated her, but then she realized that many of the people didn’t understand French, and they didn’t have access to the Bible in the language they could read. They attended church, but were receiving very little spiritual nourishment. It was as if they didn’t know that they could be expecting so much more from God’s Word!
When Alicia realized this, she felt a greater burden to help with Bible translation. This was something she could help with because God had already been preparing her. And maybe one day, she’d be able to use both her love for music and linguistics together.
Alicia is graduating with her undergraduate degree in May 2014. After that, she hopes to get a master’s in linguistics so she can work in Bible translation, church planting, and discipleship.
*Discovery trips are designed for young adults to experience missions through trips varying in length from six weeks to one year. If you’re interested in going on one of the 2014 trips, apply today! Deadline with a waved application fee is December 31st, and all applications are due by March 8, 2014.