Thank you for your support of our ministry. Living among the Simbari, we are reminded often of the need to get God’s message of grace to these folks. Recently I experienced something that renewed my vision, I only wish you also could see the need in person.
A young man came by in the evening and invited me to a sing-sing. Often the people will sing-sing yatsiwa’na (for no reason) but my friend said that this was a real sing-sing. So late that evening I made my way over to the village house where the sing-sing would take place. There were a number of objections to my presence but some defended saying I was just there to get to know their customs. They went ahead with their singing which is really chanting. It went on for many hours. I heard the Simbari term kuuloka meaning “shaman” used so I began to realize that this was more than just a simple sing-a-long. Soon three shamans began to do their magic and healing, then after a short while it was over. I asked one of the men present to explain in Simbari on cassette what had happened that night. Later I took the explanation and the actual recording of the event and with my language helper’s assistance I got a pretty good idea of what went on that night. Without going into a lot of detail the main purpose of the sing-sing was to try and chase spirits back up into the deep jungle, the chants were dedicated to plants, animals and places all found only in the spirits “home” in the deep jungle.
I found this to be a little shocking because I started to get used to the mundane daily existence of planting, tending and harvesting gardens. Most of the Simbari’s wear western type clothing and each day they commute by foot over steep, slippery mountain trails. They don’t punch a time clock but they work hard until the sun is low and then “commute” home in the rain arriving just before dark. Most are religious too, wanting to please God by going to lotu or church service. Many have been deceived by a cult which propagates false truths that appeal to the flesh. If you put all this together the Simbari’s are not really all that different from the rest of the world.
“Oh, they wear clothes, they are pretty civilized,” This comment made to us about the Simbari came to my mind and I guess what bothers me is that it seems to imply that a person’s need for God is not as great if they are civilized or semi-civilized. This kind of thinking is so harmful to God’s purposes. I should not be surprised because we read in 1 Sam 16:7 “ ..for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” Your next-door neighbor’s heart might be quite depraved. Has this Simbari woman’s heart been cleansed by the blood of Jesus? Or is she a shaman? You can’t tell from the outward appearance can you? Maybe she is just one more of the many who are clothed on the outside but their hearts have no opportunity to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ unless we tell them the GOOD NEWS!
We thank the Lord for giving us a glimpse of these depraved hearts once again. You too are a part of this work through your prayers and financial support so we hope this has renewed your vision as it has ours.
David and Shari Ogg