We recently received an audio recording from a Simbari believer named Ellen. She was full of emotion as she shared these words which we just finished translating from Simbari into English.
My name is Ellen and I’m going to share my testimony with you. Very good. When I was young and my mother and father were caring for me I wondered how we had come into existence. I went along wondering and I began to understand when I was older and some missionaries from New Tribes Mission came. Dennis and Jeanne Best and Steve and Sheila Carruth came. They came and lived at our village. They lived and worked there and I wondered, “What are these white people doing here?” That’s what I thought, and I worked with them but I didn’t know the real reason for their work. I was thinking, “Oh, these white people have a different color of skin but are living well here in our village with our people.” After a while the missionaries moved up to another village. I lived up there with them too and after I became of age I was married and continued living there. I was observing them and wondering if they had come because of our material things or other good things that were here on our land. Or maybe they are living here because they like our rain forest. I thought those things while they lived amongst us and at that time I was part of another religious group. I was thinking that it was good that these missionaries were here. At that time I had not trusted in Jesus, but I was lying to myself, thinking that I did believe in Him. I went along thinking like that and after a while I went through some hard times that lasted for quite a while. During that time I felt like there was no life or hope for me. Then I thought about what I had heard once about God bringing judgement and I wondered where He was. I tried crying out to Him. I thought about Him but I couldn’t find him in my own strength.
Then one day my friend Shari invited me and my husband to come to her house. We came and visited with her and her husband and it was there that God made known to me the truth about Christ. While we were visiting together, my friend Shari took me by the hand and said, “Don’t be sad.” When she held my hand it made me think a lot about Jesus. When I think about that time that she held my hand it makes me cry a lot as it reminds me of how Jesus, my Helper came down.
So then, they began teaching the first (Bible) course. At that time I was just going around living in fear. But later, after my husband trusted in Christ I also put my trust in Him. The missionaries were praying for me during that time. So when I heard the Bible lessons I forgot all about my friends from my former religious group. God’s talk was so sweet to me and I was listening very intently. One of the verses that God used to draw me to Himself is in Mark 2:17 where Jesus is calling sinners to Himself. He said, “I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” And I thought, “Oh I am a very sinful person. I too need Jesus to become my friend.” So at that time when I heard Christ calling me, I trusted in Him and now I have become His daughter.
I am so happy about the great work that God did for me. I would not have experienced this before. I would have died and gone forever to the place of fire. But God did a great work for me and I am so happy that I heard Him calling me. I believe in this One who died for me, rose again, and will take me to live with Him in Heaven. I tell others about this belief of mine, telling them that if they realize they are sinners they can follow my example of trusting in Jesus and later he will come down and take us up to His home. I share that with those around me and I wait for the Lord to bring others for me to share with.
I am really thankful for the work that New Tribes Mission goes around doing here in this country. These men and women who have trusted in Jesus have brought His talk to us people here in Papua New Guinea and this work is more valuable that all the money in the world. About that I am so happy and I say thank you to God. He made us and did not forget about us. He held us firmly in his thinking and sent these men and women to us. For that I say “thank you” to Him. That’s all I want to share.