A delayed start? A slower teaching schedule due to restrictions in group gatherings? Community pressure for people not to attend the Bible teaching? A smaller number coming to the Bible lessons than we hoped?
Yes, all those (and more) are things we have experienced over the past few months. But we have full confidence that the Lord’s plan here among the Amdu people has not been and will not be thwarted. While facing many obstacles and challenges, our team is also experiencing the joy of teaching our friends God’s Truth in their own language and watching them understand what they are hearing and yearn for more. Many of them have heard bits and pieces of the Bible over the years in the trade language, but never with a strong, clear foundation and never as one story pointing to the coming Redeemer.
Imagine if you were to pick up a big, thick book to read, but instead of starting from the beginning, imagine you just flipped to a section in the middle and started reading there. Finding that hard to understand, you flip back toward the beginning and then later to some sections close to the end. You see interesting things, but if someone were to ask you what the book was about, you wouldn’t be able to give a clear answer. And because you had only jumped around the book, reading bits and pieces, you might even get the meaning totally wrong. Oh, and did we mention that you were trying to read it in another language?
Now, imagine that someone sits down with you and, starting at the beginning of the book, reads with you and explains the story in your language. When you get to a little part that you had read before, you suddenly understand what it’s talking about! Light bulbs start coming on as the story continues and you read with anticipation of what is going to happen next. And it becomes personal as you realize that you are actually part of the story!
It’s not a perfect example, but it gives you just a little picture of what’s going on here in Amdu right now. Starting from the beginning of God’s Word, we have been explaining and pounding home things like: who God is, what He’s like, where man came from, what sin is and what are the consequences, what road God is going to provide in order for man to have fellowship with Him again, and much, much more. As we teach, it is exciting to watch understanding growing for many who are coming to listen. Sin separates mankind from the perfect Creator God, but man is not without hope. God promised that He would send a Redeemer. From the beginning, God’s Word points ahead to that Redeemer, who is the only hope of mankind having a right relationship with God again. Before anyone would be able to get excited about that Savior though, they would have to understand that they need to be saved from something. We have a lot of people here right now who think they are good enough just like they are. They think as long as they DON’T do certain things while at the same being sure to DO another list of things, they will be acceptable to God. Hmmm – maybe there are a lot of people in America who think the same thing!
Along with that list of challenges and obstacles we shared at the beginning, we also wanted to be sure to share some special encouragements too. Like an older man who hurt his back, but didn’t let that stop him from coming to the Bible teaching each day last week even though he was in pain. And the ones who are standing up against community pressure and still coming to listen. And the lady who is from another language group (she’s the fourth wife of an Amdu man) but is quick to follow along and answer questions even though she’s hearing all this in Amdu which is her third language. And the ones who are thinking about what they heard in the lesson as they go to their garden to work for the day. God is working!
Thank you for praying for our team! We are about halfway through the lessons which will culminate in teaching about the death, burial and resurrection of the Redeemer. Each lesson builds on the last one, and we are excited to watch as the story unfolds for our Amdu friends. Please keep praying for people to have open hearts to hear the Truth and believe it.