Over the last 2 decades, I’ve put tens of thousands of hours into learning Mandarin Chinese. The result is, obviously, I am now fluent in the language. Of course, there are always holes in language learning, but as far as conversational language skills, I’m pretty satisfied with my level of fluency.

I cannot stress enough how important language learning is for a missionary. Do you want your ministry to be enhanced? Do you want to create deeper impact? Do you want to be invited into the depth of the culture you are trying to serve and reach with the gospel? Then study the language!

“The hardest part of learning any language is going through the initial shame,” Scott Young says in Mandarin. “You know you are saying it wrong, but you have to keep practicing. No amount of studying can fix it and there is absolutely no way around it. The pain is short, but the gain is long.”

In Chinese we say, 好好学习天天向上,”Good good study, day day go up.” In other words, the more effort you put into your language learning, the sky’s the limit!

The guys on this video really inspired me! All the excuses for language learning seemed to dissipate as I watched them put 100% effort into A Year Without English. “If only every missionary had the same dedication as these guys!” I thought to myself.

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Check out this incredible film to see how to learn Mandarin Chinese in 3.5 months!

Here’s a couple more of my blogs about language learning:

Girl Speaks Gibberish With Perfect Accents To Show What Languages Sound Like To Foreigners

You Can Learn Any Language, Even If It’s One Of The World’s Hardest [INFOGRAPHIC]  

At Within Reach Global, we are actually reaching some of the areas you see on this film. We train local missionaries in Mandarin, empowering them to reach their own unengaged unreached people groups with the gospel in their mother tongues.

Please pray for more breakthrough as we seek to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to every corner of Southeast Asia!  


Special thanks to Stephen Eichholtz for sharing this video with me!

David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global
David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.
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