Excitement was in the air as David and a group of believers hiked down on Sunday afternoon to begin the new outreach at a village about 1½ hours away from us.
Probably about 1/2 of the believers accompanied us and helped carry supplies as their way of being a part it. The hike starts out at 5000 ft elevation then takes you down nearly 1000 feet to a river then another 1000 back up another mountain on the other side of the valley to get to the other village. The last hill was really tough but when we arrived the people welcomed us by putting necklaces made of fresh flowers around our necks and then different representatives of the community thanked us for bringing God’s Word to them. We told them not to lift us up and hung the flowers on the podium where the teaching was going to be taking place from.
Monday morning was the first meeting with over 100 in attendance and the content of the lesson was an introduction to the Bible, how it was written, in what languages, etc., and that it contains God’s message to mankind. After the meeting one of the men said that hearing God’s word in their own language is like a “tsilika” which is a feast cooked in the ground with hot stones like a luau. A tsilika feast here in Simbariland brings people out of the woodwork because everyone wants to get in on the feasting. We thought it a pretty neat illustration of their “hunger” for God’s Word.
David is living in a fairly nice house that was assigned to him. No indoor plumbing but he installed a battery and solar panels that can run a light and computer. When not in meetings David is keeping up on translation and lessons. While Dave lives down there 4 nights a week he eats lots of instant noodles and takes baths at the local washing area wearing swim trunks. It’s a beautiful little green grotto with a little waterfall that you can stand under. Very refreshing, the only drawback was the audience of little kids watching. 🙂 He’s able to keep in touch with Shari and the family with some walkie talkies.
Next lesson was based on Gen. 1:1 and was about God. Some of His attributes. That He was there before creation and therefore is above it (of particular significance to animists who worship the creation) and is the only one who can tell us how this world really came to be. We got rained out for the afternoon meeting but the people were disappointed and basically said, “the trail is good why let a little rain stop you.” Actually the rain was a huge downpour which makes it hard to hear not to mention it is a pretty good hike from where we are staying to where the meeting house is. It’s actually three villages situated one above the other up the side of a mountain. We’re living in the lower one and teaching in upper one. Even meeting twice a day the people can’t seem to get enough. We asked them if they wanted to meet only in the mornings and they answered, “No way!” The next lesson was on the creation of angels, Lucifer and his rebellion and expulsion from heaven. The next morning was about the first 5 days of creation. With the emphasis on the fact he didn’t need it for himself but he made only good things in preparation for man’s needs, because he loves us. Other themes were his omniscience and omnipotence. Thursday morning right before David hiked home the lesson was on the creation of man, God placing him in the garden and the instruction regarding the two trees in the middle of the garden. For all the meetings this last week attendance was 60 plus adults. One surprise is that even some of the old people are answering questions so we know the message is really being proclaimed clearly in the language. We have a full roster signed up for literacy classes starting on Monday.
David only has a few days home before leaving again and is working on the preliminary draft of Romans while at home. Shari has been doing lots of medical work because the aid workers are all gone right now. As well as home schooling and back-translation of Acts. Thanks for praying as we bring the light of the Gospel into this place that has been in darkness for so long.
David and Shari