Since our last update we’ve celebrated three birthdays, our Amdu Anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the hailing in of a new year. Even here in the village away from the hubbub of the holidays we still found ourselves very busy. But it was a good busy and if anything it has made us more focused on living Christmas all year long! Translating the Bible and writing lessons to clarify and explain God’s remedy for our sin problem for the Amdu people has been having that effect on our hearts so we’re thankful for the hurry and scurry of our lives right now.
When we wrote last we talked about starting a special literacy class for people who have had some learning in the government school. We believed these people had the necessary skills to be able to meet the demand of an accelerated teaching pace learning to read in their own language. We started that the first week of December and have 12 new students who are doing well after four meetings. They are enthusiastic and enjoying all that we are throwing at them. Pray that this enthusiasm carries over into eagerness to read and study the translated Scriptures.
Also in December both Benjamin and Bart were able to speak to the majority of our village in two separate meetings about the character of God’s word and the importance of the upcoming Bible teaching. Bart explained to the group that God’s word is like a sharp knife that God uses to help us to cut through lies and understand truth. Benjamin spoke about God’s word being a light that shows the right path to follow. They both challenged the listeners with the reality that the only people who benefit from God’s word are those people who have heard the whole story. The Bible teaching that will begin in March is their opportunity to hear the whole story that God has given us and to benefit from the sharp knife and the bright torch of God’s word. The challenge was well received as this is the first time the people have heard Bart and Benjamin speak at length in a teachers role. They loved it!
Benjamin shared how thankful he was that his parents taught him using the Bible in his own language and that he does the same with his kids, and now we want to do the same with the Amdu people. Many people responded to these messages with eagerness to hear more. One close friend was torn up about Benjamin’s testimony of his faithful parents. He said, “My parents were clueless and they taught me wrong. I want God’s light like you have it!” This man’s son has been talking about leaving the village for good to go find a job. Benjamin challenged the man to try and convince his son to stay and attend our Bible teaching. It would be like teaching his son what is right. He thought that was a good idea and also said that he keeps thinking about what we said as he goes to sleep at night. Pray for us as we attempt to make use of every opportunity to keep the need for God’s word in the fore front of the Amdu people’s minds. Most weekends the community gathers and discusses things as a group. Pray that God would help us to take advantage of that platform to continue addressing the group with their need.
Translation and lesson writing continue at a good pace. Thank you for praying for that effort. Pray for clarity and simplicity and focus in each lesson. Just as an example of the understanding of our folks here; Benjamin was working through the wording of the concept of being born again found in John three. He asked his helper, “If you wear clothes like the white man and speak like him and think like him what will happen?” Benjamin was probing at the idea that nothing we do can change who we are fundamentally. His helper’s answer was, “God will accept that person!” This man has had a lot of exposure to Bible stories and teaching but he is still very confused about the most important elements of God’s message. This week we are working through lessons that address the message of the prophets to Israel’s kings and the condition of the covenant between God and Israel at the time of Jesus birth. God’s faithfulness to his plan for redeeming mankind despite Israel’s failure, is the main focus of these lessons. They set the stage for the lessons on the life of Christ. Praise God for enthusiasm on the part of helpers, stamina on the part of our team. We are resolved, in this new year, to trust the fact that if the house of God is going to stand and remain here in Amdu, it is God who has to build it! Let’s pray together to that end.
Many thanks, again, for praying and for giving and being a part of what God is doing here in Amdu.
Benjamin and Missy
Judah, Gianna, Tiernan and Silas