Laszlo brings testimony to AU

Tue, 2012-07-24 10:27 -- univcomm
Marilyn Lazlo, speaker for Wycliffe USA, was the campus guest for AU’s Impact Your World Week. She shared her experiences as a missionary to the Sepik Iwam tribe, a remote group of 2,500 living in the Hauna village outside of Papua, New Guinea in the South Pacific Islands. Lazlo told college students she wanted to be a missionary since she was a little girl growing up on her grandparents’ farm. “I was five years old when a missionary from Russia came to speak to our little church of 35 members, and how I was taken in by his stories of miracles taking place. When I was 15, I was singing and talking to God while riding the tractor on the farm and remember telling God I wanted to be a missionary when I grow up.”

After attending college and going on to teach, Lazlo decided after five years of teaching to become a missionary. No amount of training in linguistics and anthropology could prepare her for her journey to Papua, New Guinea down the river to a remote tribe that had never seen a white person prepared her for the actual experience. The people didn’t understand her, and she struggled to understand them. She jokes that for a half hour the tribesmen, she later found out, debated on whether her and her female missionary partner were male or female.

“They decided that we were neither,” said Lazlo. “They thought we were their ancestors ghosts, with our pale skin.”

After inquiring from the audience how many living languages they think there are in the world, she told them there were 6,903 at last count. “Another thing to remember is that more than half of those languages do not have the bible…that represents 400 million people. That means if any of these people are going to learn anything about God they got to do it in their own language.” Lazlo, with the help of her sister, completed the first New Testament in the Sepik Iwam tongue.

A sought-after speaker and guest of the Billy Graham Crusade, Lazlo continues to share her story. She now serves Wycliffe USA as a national speaker for missions conferences, college chapels, youth conferences, churches and camps, sharing the story of translators around the world.

For more information about Impact Your World Week, contact the Anderson University campus ministries office at 765-641-4203.

--Writer Kim Ousley is works in the Anderson University office of Media and Electronic Communications.