While serving as missionaries in Germany during the 70’s, Sherrylee and I hosted many short-term “campaigns.” These were generally large groups of students from Christian universities who came for two weeks, sang chorally, did street puppets, or anything else we could imagine in order to attract positive attention to our efforts to plant a church in Hannover. All these efforts brought some results for which we were thankful, but after we returned to the States in 1979, we believed there had to be a better way to use American Christians abroad.
We were certainly not the first to think of using the interest in English for evangelistic purposes, but we were the only ones we knew who were organizing groups, training them, developing appropriate materials, and sending them to other countries for short-term missions. In 1980, we recruited ten Oklahoma Christian students, met weekly with them, and then spent 10 weeks with them in the cities of Bremen and Braunschweig. Over the next two or three years, our small experiment grew into something we were excited about! With the collapse of the former Soviet Union, LST was suddenly in high demand because we had a strategy that American Christians could use immediately in these Eastern European countries, so LST was among the first groups into Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Romania, and the DDR.
At almost the same time, LST expanded through the mission efforts of former workers into South America, Central America, and Asia. As we entered new countries, we were forced to re-think our strategies as well as our organization. LST has now worked in 65 different countries, having sent out literally thousands of Christians who have shared the Good News personally with tens of thousands of people who generally come first to improve their English, but always leave with a Christian friend and the seeds of faith in Jesus planted in their hearts.
Today Let’s Start Talking is an established non-profit 501(c)(3) with an office in Bedford, Texas. The ministry recruits and sends between 4-500 people each year. We are still invited to new sites and we continue to try to develop into a better tool each year. For more information, go to our website: www.LST.org
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