The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Psalm 126:3
Yes, that’s right. She should have died! The old lady’s testimony to us that day on our porch in the early 1990s was really something. We got “goose bumps” listening to her.
This account is about Naydalinya, sister to Salvador, the powerful witch doctor whom the spirits used to control the people. They believed that the spirit’s promises of eternal life would be realized if they could just do what was demanded.
Our hearts were often saddened to hear accounts of how the spirits ruled the people by fear. Contrary to what some believe, these people weren’t happy living in the jungle. They lived a life of fear!
One day, a number of years before missionaries were living among the Higaunon, the people were in the forest fulfilling one of those “demands” the spirits had made. As the group was on their trek through the forest, Naydalinya was at the long house carrying for her young nephew, Sansuwà, and other younger children.
They usually built their houses near the stream where they could get plenty of fish to eat. On this day, she headed down to the stream to get some fish for herself and to feed the children. Just after she left, Sansuwà decided to follow her, little knowing what was in store.
As he approached the stream, he heard her cry out, “I’ve stepped into a spear trap!”
She had stepped into a camouflaged pig trap and the sharp bamboo at the end of the spear had gone straight through her calf muscles. Now, if that had happened to you or me, we’d want to be rushed to the hospital and have the best medical care we could get. As forest dwellers back then, the Higaunon had no medical doctors nearby and it wasn’t an easy thing to get to the hospital.
Sansuwà was just a young boy and didn’t have the strength to pull that spear out on his own but between the two of them, she got out of the trap and back to the house. Naydalinya grew very pale from loss of blood and when the others arrived all they could do was wrap the wound in leaves. It was a miracle that she recovered. She credited Sansuwà for saving her life.
The day she came up on our porch to tell us this story, she said pointing to her calf, “Look at my scar, listen to my story of how God preserved me so that I could live.” Naydalinya was part of one of the first groups to listen to God’s Word in 1983. She understood that she was a sinner and that Christ’s death on the cross was the answer to her dilemma. She was full of joy, ecstatic that God, the Creator of the universe, would allow her to live through her injury so she could hear the message of eternal life!
Naydalinya would often stop by our house on her way to the river. She would talk about the Lord and ask what heaven was like. She’d wanted to know how much longer it was until the Lord came for His church. She couldn’t wait to get there. Well, she beat us all as she entered into the presence of her Lord in January 1995.
Yes, she should have died the day she stepped into a spear trap, but God preserved her so she could hear the message of the Gospel and live forever. What an awesome thought! An old lady living in poverty in the middle of a jungle in south east Asia without any hope of eternal life, finds the true meaning of life.
The psalmist expresses our thoughts with this verse. Psalms 126:3 The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. What greater thing is there than being involved in reaching people with the good news of Jesus Christ?