April 01, 2008

Dinangat Teaching Update

Last Monday we did a skit portraying the time when the Israelites were complaining to Moses and Aaron. They were wallowing in sin as they quickly forgot the miracles of God to save them from Egyptian bondage, and even longed to be back where life was “easy”. God sent the snakes, with the promise that if they would only look to the snake image He’d provided, He would rescue them from certain death. In this skit, we used the opportunity to teach against salvation by works or self righteousness. In the skit, one of our Israelites said as he was writhing in agony from being bitten, “I am a righteous man! I do what Gods says! If I just pray to God, He will save me!” But he did not TRUST God and look to the image. And then he died. Most of the people were shocked to see the “good guys” die. They are understanding that there is NO way we can fix our own sin problem, there is nothing we can do. God’s way is the only way. They are convinced now that only God can save them. Every day they come to the teaching wondering and hoping to hear about the “Kidaak Amna,” they can’t wait to hear about His work and what He will do to save them from their sin! We marvel at the work God is doing in the hearts of so many people here!

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven You are there, If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.” Ps. 139:7,8

They also heard this week about many of the prophets God used to proclaim His words to the Israelites. We are humbled to see the way the people here are internalizing every story and seeing God’s message for them in it. And then they are getting up and publicly testifying to what God is teaching them! After the story about Jonah, Basa got up and said this: “Years ago the government gave me the job of being the police man for our area, but like Jonah I ran away to a far away village. While I was there I fell into a river and it carried me a long way down and I almost drowned, but now I see that my story is like Jonah’s. God was showing me His power. And now we all have heard these stories from the Bible, and we see everyday what He alone created. He has shown us His power! Therefore, we should not praise anything or anyone else! We should only give our praise to God because He is all powerful and sovereign!” Can you believe it? Every one is nodding and saying things like, “It’s true!” “That’s right!” How it must thrill the Father’s heart to hear these folks already Believing His Word and PRAISING HIS NAME!

Common among the Dinangat are these little carvings called “yuppups” that some believe hold certain powers. They are no different than the idol worshipping we have been talking about in the days of Moses. Although possessing and meddling with these carvings has become looked down on, many still do. Asa’s father, who lives over the mountain in another village, was one of them. After the teaching one week, Asa went over to pay his father a visit, and began talking about the things he has been learning. With his limited (but passionate!) knowledge, he explained to his father that God is the Creator of everything, He owns everything, and He alone is worthy of our worship. He told him that God does not want us worshipping anything else. He even convinced his father to throw the carvings into the fire. When he came back and told us this story, I asked him, “So, is that sin paid for? Is he right with God now that he’s thrown the idols away?” He thought for a moment and said, “No, the payment for sin is death.”

This week Felix got up and said, “Do you all see what the Israelites did when they worshipped idols? They even sacrificed their children to false gods. You all know that we all do something similar. When we believe that the false god ‘makwa damaan’ gives us the game when we hunt, we are believing a false god; and we are giving our children over to him. Rather we should leave this thinking so that we do not give our children over to false thinking. Instead we should only put our thinking towards the one true God.”

It was an awesome week. We can see on their faces great anticipation when we talk about the coming Savior! Friday we listed over 20 prophesies about the coming Redeemer, and there is excitement in the air! Next week we start into the New Testament, and they will begin to see the work of the Savior! Please continue praying over this weeks’ lessons:

Monday – God punished Israel and Judah, but He brought back some of His people back.

Tuesday – God foretold the births of John and Jesus (first NT lesson!)

Wednesday – God fulfilled His promise in the birth of John.

Thursday – God’s angel explained to Joseph how Jesus would be born.

Friday – God fulfilled His promise by sending Jesus, the Deliverer!

Other prayer requests:

-Thus far we have experienced pretty good health. But here in the middle of this 14 week teaching spree, we find ourselves a bit weary. While many of our kids on the team came down with a bug last week, Jordan hasn’t seemed to be able to kick it and it looks like he has lapsed into malaria. We began treating him for it a few days ago, and he seems to be recovering, but still has a very high fever at night. Also, Jeremiah has had a really bad kink in his neck for a week that is quite painful. Last we checked, there was no chiropractor in the village, so we are really thankful for painkillers that have helped him stay on the job! Please pray that these things would leave us in peace quickly, and for continued health and encouragement on the team!

Thanks so much for standing with us!

~Jeremiah, April, Jordan, Judah and Alayna

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