The picture here doesn’t mean much to the vast majority of people in the world. But for a small group of people in the Gende tribe tucked away in the rugged mountains of PNG, it means the world – it is a portion of God’s Word in their language! One of those Gende people is a young woman named Agnes.
Many of you have been praying for Agnes (read this earlier post for more on Agnes), whom we go to visit in prison. Thank you so much!! We asked you to pray for her salvation so we wanted to give you an update about our last visit with her.
Usually when we go to visit Agnes, we are given 30 minutes with her and then the warden tells us that our time is up and we have to go. Since our time usually seems to go very fast, on our most recent visit we got right to talking about the Bible lessons and Scripture that we had given her last time to study. (Without any explanation, this time the warden gave us almost an hour with Agnes!) Now just in case you are unfamiliar with the typical New Tribes method, here’s a short explanation. After years of working with animistic tribal people, it has been proven again and again that in order for these people to truly understand the message of the Gospel they have to be given the proper foundation starting in Genesis. Without an understanding of God, sin, substitution and many other key doctrines found in the Old Testament, they will very easily just add Jesus to their list of “spirits” that they need to appease. So, the lessons and corresponding Scripture that the missionaries in the Gende tribe gave us to pass on to Agnes is just that – foundational teaching starting in Genesis and leading up to Christ. For the last several weeks, Agnes has been reading and studying these lessons.
Here’s another little side note to help you understand a bit more about the culture here. It is very common in PNG for people to say what they think you want them to say in order to please you. That’s not too hard to believe since appeasing the spirit world is at the core of their worldview. We have also heard that prisoners are encouraged to “repent” and change their ways while in prison. And if a person thinks that saying the “right thing” will bring them some benefit, they will not hesitate to do so.
So, these things are in the back of our minds as we sit and talk with Agnes. We also know that only the Lord truly knows her heart. But, from our most recent conversation with Agnes, we believe that she does understand salvation and has been taken from the kingdom of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of Light. Praise the Lord!! But will you please continue to pray for Agnes? Prison is a tough and lonely place. Please pray that she will grow in her new faith and be a light to those around her. And please pray for us as we continue to go visit her and take her more Bible lessons and Scripture in her language.
Would Agnes have studied God’s Word like this if she had not been sent to prison? We don’t know the answer to that. Maybe prison was exactly the place she needed to be in order for God to get her attention. And we’re thankful that the Lord has allowed our family to have a part in Agnes hearing and understanding the Good News of salvation.