Tonight I (BJ) had the amazing opportunity to teach the Wusuraambyan men’s Bible study. This was the second time I got to teach them. Andrew is teaching them through the book of Hebrews (This is the only teaching that he does; all the other Bible teaching is done by Willis, Josek and Randy, the Bible teachers). Andrew thought it would be a great opportunity for me, and it worked on 2 levels–made me study Hebrews and made me think in Pidgin!
As I was teaching them chapter 8 tonight, something really struck me. I have always heard from missionaries that when tribal people hear God’s Word in their heart language it sets their hearts on fire! Well, tonight I witnessed that. Yes, they were excited to hear me teach Hebrews 8 tonight in Tok Pisin. BUT, when Andrew read his draft of Hebrews 8 in the tribal language they were oohing and awing over it, saying, “Em nau! Em stret! (Yes! Yes!)” And it hit me that while I was teaching them truth in Tok Pisin and they were getting it, it didn’t “set their hearts on fire” until they heard it in their heart language. Wow! This just confirms that while we could “get by” with Pidgin, to effectively reach tribal people in PNG and for them to go on to maturity they must be taught in their heart language… by someone who has gained their trust and learned their culture.