In our last update, we asked prayer for a survey team. They have returned after hiking for 18 days to 16 villages. They arrived home rejoicing in how God met their every need and protected them along the way.
One evening, one of the girls hurt her ankle quite badly. Her foot swelled and the swelling traveled up her calf along with a lot of bruising. She couldn’t put any weight on her foot. So, they gave her some pain killers, wrapped her ankle up in leaves (a local treatment) and prayed for God to heal her. The next morning they expected to leave her behind but asked, “Will you be okay to hike with us?” She said she’d try. She started off with a bit of a limp but it wasn’t long and she was leading the group down the trail.
On another day they were hiking up a stream bed when they heard a loud explosion. They had been warned to make a lot of commotion as they traveled in that area because people were busy working in their farms and they didn’t want to startle anyone. At first they were terrified thinking someone was out to hurt them! A very large branch came crashing down right in front of them! They praise God that they were not hurt!
We heard all of this from the head of the team who is one of the church pastors. He said he never got more than 2 hours of sleep a night during their trip because so many people visited him with their questions.Then he shared something really neat, but first let us relate some Higaunon history.
Eight generations ago, a group of Higaunon migrated here from a village more than 2 days hike away. Their purpose? They were on a quest to find “life!” Before leaving their village they made an agreement. Whoever was first to succeed in finding life would let the other group know. What they were looking for from the spirit world was a way to escape death and be in “heaven.” (that blue dome overhead we call the sky) The agreement was that whoever found the way to life first, was to RUSH with the news to the other group!
Wiki, pictured here, says he’s 90 years old. He has no birth certificate but he’s got to be somewhere around that age since he remembers WWII. His story is that he was a few years old when the man who was the leader of the group that migrated here, died. Wiki shared that he remembers him being quite old when he died. So, we’re pretty sure that this agreement took place over 150 years ago.
In 1983 the gospel was heard for the first time in this valley. Since then, they have been taking the gospel to other villages and have planted more than 12 other churches throughout the region.
Mosok is one of those who has been teaching in a distant village. Last year he was invited by a tribal chieftain to come and teach God’s word to him and his family in yet a more distant village. After seeking advice from the church leadership here, he started teaching in that village, hiking there once a week. There are 5 families who have now heard the first several lessons of the evangelistic phase of the teaching; they are very excited about what they’re hearing! Mosok’s heart is “These people need to hear the word of God in their own language!” The survey team arranged to visit that village on their trip. They wanted to see first hand what was going on and they needed to make some agreements with the local people there.
How does all this relate? God is seeing to it that the agreement made 8 generations ago is finally being fulfilled! Those five families live in the village from where the ancestors of these people migrated! There is an evangelistic work in that village but the teaching is not in the Higaunon language; most of the people don’t understand what’s being taught. So, even though the agreement to “rush” with the news to the other place wasn’t fulfilled, after all these years the life-giving message is finally being heard!
A young man is just finishing up the discipleship program here. The plan is for him to move where Mosok has been ministering and Mosok will move to this other village with his family. They plan to make an agreement later this month with the local authorities and the existing ministry for Mosok move there and continue teaching in the Higaunon language. There are 250 families in that village and only a very few have understood the gospel. Please pray!
There’s a lot more we could share with you but we thought that this was some pretty good news to share during this Easter week. So, rejoice with us, the resurrection message continues to go forward amongst the Higaunon!
Meanwhile, thank you for praying for the translation of Isaiah. We’re making good progress!
Secure in His love,
Lance & Laura