A small Kuna church in the jungle began praying for the villages upriver where the people had yet to hear the Gospel. They repeatedly sought permission from the village leaders to send missionaries to teach God’s Book, but permission was refused. So the church kept praying.
And that was the story for more than ten years. But then an official request came to the church, first to send literacy teachers and later that they would send Bible teachers. What a miracle that God had opened doors that had been locked! This is how fourteen months ago a young Kuna couple, Anelio and Silverixia, along with their two small children were sent as missionaries to one of these villages upriver. Those first months of their ministry were very difficult, filled with loneliness and discouragement. But their faithfulness has begun to bear fruit.
Anelio recently shared with us, “As I began to learn God\’s Book, I saw that His heart is for the whole world. And so I told Him, ‘Great Father, I will do whatever You ask of me. I will go wherever You want.’ I came to know that God had chosen me to go to a Kuna village upriver. He was asking me to suffer there for His name. I cannot explain the burden in my heart for those in that village who did not know the Savior. God put mercy in my heart for them. They are so lost, so confused, so far from the Truth.”
“And this is how we came to be sent out as missionaries. I had no idea of the great trials we were to face. We arrived in the village with nothing. Even though we had permission to be there, at first no one helped us. People didn’t want to hear God’s Word. They ridiculed, humiliated, and opposed us in every way. Silverixia and I talked often about quitting and just returning to our village. But then the children of the village began showing interest in hearing God’s Book. We were excited to begin teaching them the chronological Bible lessons. We prayed and prayed because the people’s hearts were so hard, so full of the love of sin.
“Then came the day when one man asked me to teach him God’s Book. That was the start and every day more and more people came. Now there are about 80 adults hearing God’s Word and over a hundred children always come! There is also a small group of new believers who are taking stands to obey Christ. They refuse to give in to the pressure to participate in the village drinking ceremonies. They would rather obey God than face the approval of the village and their families. But it is not easy. It is not a light thing. It means leaving all to follow Him. Some of the new believers are facing problems because their husband or wife does not know God yet. So they may want to obey God, but their partner doesn’t understand. Every one of the new believers are facing problems. Would you please pray for them?
“Please pray especially for the family living next to us. They are really close to understanding the Gospel and putting their faith in Christ. The man and his son are medicine men for the village. They are very interested in God’s Book and understand the Gospel is completely different than the ways of the forefathers. I am teaching his family the lessons from Genesis so they are coming to understand about the true God, sin, and separation. This man asked me one day, “Who was the greatest one that God has ever sent to earth?” I responded, “Jesus.” He said, “Then why is it we doubt Him? I am coming to believe the Book.” He is thinking and asking good questions. God is drawing him.
“And I pray that God will continue His work in the village. Their hearts are so in love with sin. Most of them have no desire for God’s things. Please pray that we will be faithful and not give up. It is so discouraging. There is so much pressure against us. And they go about without even a hint of shame in their sin. May God give us His heart of mercy. May God help them to understand His truth. I know that one day God will show His power in the village as He changes lives.”