It has been our desire and prayer that God would send us to a people whose hearts He has already been preparing for the gospel. One of the deciding factors for us in choosing the country of Papua New Guinea was because of how God was doing exactly that. We have heard that there is a file cabinet full of letters from tribal people who have not yet heard the Good News, who are begging for missionaries to come and tell them “God’s Talk” (the phrase often used in PNG for the message of the Bible).
How would they even come to a place where they would want missionaries to tell them God’s Talk? I want to tell you the story of one of those language groups who have written asking for missionaries. Now we don’t have all of the details, but it is possible that it could have happened something like this…
“One day a man named Eric and several other men from his people group in Papua New Guinea set out for a several day hunting expedition in search of pigs which they would eat, bargain with, pay bride prices, and make jewelry from. After a few days hike and no pig, they climbed a mountain top and saw a village at the bottom with warm fires. Desiring a place to stay, Eric approached these people and asked them in Pigeon English (the trade language of PNG) if they would be welcome to stay the night there and be on their way the next day. The people agreed, and even offered the men some food that had been cooking on the fire. As it got dark, Eric noticed something very strange…
The fire was beginning to dwindle down and a few of the men from this people group were going out into the jungle to retrieve more wood. “Are they crazy?” Eric thought to himself. “Surely they know about all of the spirits that are just waiting to eat them out there!” To Eric’s surprise, the men returned safely, even with a smile on their face! Eric did not ask any questions, but lay there all night wondering about the spirits and why nothing had happened to those men who risked their lives for more wood.
The next morning when Eric woke up, breakfast had already been cooked. Everyone was eating, but again, Eric could not believe what he was seeing. The whole village was enjoying several types of food that their ancestors had told them where taboo. Again Eric thought to himself, “What is going on here! Don’t they know that eating these foods will cause the spirits to be angry? Do they want us all to die?” Finally, Eric couldn’t hold it in any longer – “What do you think that you are doing? Last night you went into the jungle, like you were unafraid of the spirits who are out there! And this morning you are eating taboo foods like the spirits cannot cause you harm!”
One of the elder men in the tribe smiled and began to tell Eric as best he could in the trade language about how a missionary had come to their people, learned their language, and began to tell them God’s talk. “They told us the talk from beginning to end,” he said. “And now because of what we heard God did, and believe Him, we are no longer afraid of the Spirits. There is one who God sent, Jesus, and He has defeated them.”
Eric had trouble understanding what the old man was saying, but knew whatever they had heard, he wanted his people to hear as well.”
Eric was determined to get someone to come and tell his people about this Jesus. Eric decided that he would take a several day hike, buy pen and paper, and get someone to write a letter for him, asking that someone please send missionaries to come tell his people God’s Talk. For ten years Eric did this, without any results. No one came to tell his people God’s Good News.
Here is an actual letter that Eric sent:
“I am Eric Kaisoa. I’m speaking for my people again. I’m writing again for the 7th time to ask if you will come to my village or not. If you’re willing to come then please, in the name of Jesus we want someone to really come and learn our language. We’re continuing to demand this. The people are saying that you must come. I’m saying this again. I think you all didn’t get my first 6 letters. If not, alright, now is my 7th letter I’m writing again, it really must bear fruit. The people are truly crying for a missionary and for God’s talk. Plenty of my letters asking for missionaries have been wasted.
Now I’m asking you to return a letter to me now. In the name of Jesus please return a letter quickly. I just want a missionary. I’m just wasting my money on these pens and paper, they don’t bear fruit. This one must produce the fruit right.
Thank you. God bless you and me too.
By Eric Kaisoa”
Eric wrote these letters for ten years with no response and no missionaries sent to his people.
Finally, this year (2013), missionaries answered the call and came to these people. When they arrived, they wanted to go and see Eric and let him know his efforts had finally paid off – They were here to tell him and his people God’s talk!
They were brought to Eric’s family and as they spoke with his wife they heard something heartbreaking. Eric died two years ago.
Eric died without having a chance to hear God’s big talk.
Jesus was right when He said “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”
This story could be repeated all over Papua New Guinea. Jesus also said to “pray earnestly that the Lord of the Harvest would send out laborers into His harvest.”
Our family is an answer to someone’s obedient prayer for laborers. Will you join us in this work to see those whose hearts God is stirring come to know Him?