I saw the man from well down river late that afternoon as the sun was laying down to rest among the mountains that stood tall along the beautiful river. We had heard of this tribe living near by; it had been said they still made beds for some of their dead and let them rot in the open air. “No nose” as he would be later called by me was waving an old white shirt, shouting above the roar of the outboard engine.
Knowing a stop this late in my trip would put me running the river in the dark caused tension, but my curiosity won out. I needed to know what was on his mind. “We need a missionary to come live with us”, he said before I could shut down the engine. “Look at us we are walking about in the jungle just like wild pigs.”
Telling him that we did not have a missionary to send to his tribe began a dialog that would last for several years. Finding missionaries that would be willing to live among this primitive group of people would take time, but I encouraged him that we would try. That was in the 1980s and little did I know what it would cost to reach this tribe with the gospel message.
It was late 1988 when I hiked over the mountain range from a near by river with my young son Bill where we started a building project for the three new families that would begin the work among this tribe. The excitement I felt then still reminds with me after all these years; this will be one that is finished.
Today 2009, after seven missionaries living and working in this tribe we have one family left to finish the work. Happy to say, “No Nose” believed the gospel as well as many more in the tribe. Thanks to all that have labored among this tribe; thanks to each of you as well that has prayed for the people of this tribe. We are almost there but the young church will need much more prayer to mature in the faith in the coming years.
What does it cost to reach a tribe with the gospel? We need people, prayer, and finances.
Most of all we need the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of these primitive men and women. Please pray for the Lord of the harvest to send more labors to the fields that will have a heart to stick it out until the job is done, Matt. 9:37.