April 12, 2008

The Good News in Dinangat ~ week 11

Taangit inikut, "Got te ko aapje aamna ta bwaal gaamaan sinik nekut, wata taangpaang ini kin Munani kuwe kaan we taangipmang siyaan aatgut. Wata nite i Munani, wa ta neng piyaang iminangking, wa te ko ma kumnye. Te itmang itnangking," wing inikut. ~ John 3:16

While most evangelistic efforts may begin the ministry with the message of John 3:16, we are only now, on the 53rd day of teaching, finally able to share in full candor the fullness of this verse! (Actually, not even the fullness of it yet, but I’ll get to that in a minute.) The Dinangats heard this week for the first time the message of John chapter 3 in their language, and you can’t imagine the joy we feel in being able to finally talk openly about our Savior with our friends! They had to be prepared, they had to have a foundation. Years of language and culture study was necessary, and much preparatory teaching had to be done. All of that is in place now, and we are full to overflowing! They have learned now that Jesus taught that they must be born again. To help illustrate, we hung up two bilums. (string bags the people of PNG use for EVERYTHING from sweet potatoes to sweet babies) So when we said that a person is born into the world we placed a little black doll in the first bilum, representing Satan’s kingdom. That we are all born into this kingdom is understood. What is – or was - unclear to them was how to get over to God’s bilum. So we showed the doll trying to get out by itself, but it couldn’t. Then we showed the doll trying to push its way over to God’s bilum by doing good works, but it couldn’t do that either. Then we read the portions in John 3 that describe how the Holy Spirit is the one who moves the doll over to God’s bilum when a person believes. The illustration seemed to really speak to them, and all the talk this week was about desiring to be in God’s bilum. They truly are close to the kingdom!

It was a wonderful day as even several ladies crowded around us to talk about these things! Ote has been one of the most talkative women so far. She said, “ I know I am in Satan’s bilum.” We talked for a while about how Jesus was called the Lamb of God. In the Old testament, God demanded a spotless sacrifice, and she herself made the comparison, saying that Jesus alone was spotless and righteous. I asked her how she could become righteous, acceptable to God. She then said, “I am a sinner. God alone can save me. Going to church, praying, giving offerings, none of that can save me. Only God can.” Later she said, “Only God can take us from Satan’s bilum and put us into God’s. And I know He will do that.” What beautiful faith! The best is still yet to come (and believe me, as missionaries, it is very hard to wait without running ahead of ourselves) In this culture, where they have so much baggage of wrong thinking, we need to allow time for their old thinking to be replaced and grounded by Biblical truth. It is imperative that we take it one step at a time, letting these truths sink in, so that when the time comes for them to make the choice, they will be truly ready.

On Thursday evening, I went with the boys up to visit Peso (third picture from the left), one of my language helpers. Peso is normally one of the shyest guys in town. But this evening, he was just bubbling with conversation (as much as he would ever ‘bubble’. J) He told me that the “circuit men” would be coming this weekend. Now, officially, the Dinangat’s belong to one denomination that has been present here for more than 40 years. They are accountable to the regional representatives who ‘circulates’ all the villages on their list once or twice a year. They will give the annual communion, baptize the babies, take the fees, and try to settle any known disputes so that disunion does not put a hex on their work. Now, if the people do not pay their “fees”, then they are not allowed to take communion. This used to put great fear into the Dinangat’s because they were taught that taking communion would help secure them a place in heaven. What misguided fear and bondage they have lived in! But Peso confidently told me, “Now we’re not worried if we don’t have money for the fees. We know that communion doesn’t save us. Only God can.” Praise God! He is freeing His people from Satan’s grip one slimy finger at a time!

Thank you so much for standing with us! Your prayers are a HUGE part of this battle for their souls! They are giving us strength and keeping the people coming when every one of them (or us!) might have grown too weary to continue on.

This Weeks Lessons:

Monday – Jesus foretold His death, burial, and resurrection.

Tuesday – The Jewish leaders plotted to kill Jesus because He healed a man on the Sabbath.

Wednesday – Jesus told the parable of the sower.

Thursday – Jesus fed 5000 men.

Friday – The way of the Pharisees is not God’s way.

Because HE is WORTHY!!

Jeremiah, April, Jordan, Judah, and Alayna

(our dear friends are working with New Tribes Mission in the country of Papua New Guinea...they are currently presenting God's Word for the first time to the tribal people of Dinangat!!!! Please pray for them!)

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