The First time I met Gabi, was on a survey to the villages of Mar-Mar on the South coast of the Mengen people group. I went there with a few Mengen young men, with the purpose of visiting a few families that have been asking us to come to them and teach them Gods Word. Eddie was one of the young men with me and he is Gabi’s brother.
Eddie told me allot about Gabi, as he was very concerned for Gabi’s soul. You see the Mengen’s are very worried about their family members who do not know God, as well as the rest of the Mengen people. They take the coming judgment of God and eternal damnation in hell as very serious! And so, Eddie often prayed and cried about his family and brother in Mar-Mar.
Gabi was a young teenage boy who knew nothing about God, sin, or our Savior and obviously lived a Godless and reckless live. He actually lived in Mar-Mar as he was not in fellowship with the people form our home village, due to making a young girl pregnant and not wanting to marry her.
During our visit in Mar-Mar, we just hanged out and invited Gabi to travel around with us as we do our survey. Gabi spend about a week with us as we traveled from hamlet to hamlet and shared our testimony with people. Gabi heard how God has send this amazing message in writing to us, where He reveals Himself as the only sovereign, all powerful, all knowing, all seeing, perfectly holy and just creator God who actually loves us! But how our ancestors have fallen into sin, and how we are all represented as sinners but also how we have inherited this sinful nature, making us guilty before God. This all gripped Gabi’s heart and when he heard about how God Himself came to die in our stead as payment of our sin, he was convicted of truth and trusted Christ for His salvation.
Me and Eddie returned to our home village and started to hear reports about how Gabi was studying Gods word and also how he shared these truths with others. Gabi later shared how the reality of God’s grace and Christs love for Him compelled him to go to others. And so it happened that after many years Gabi returned to his home village and was reconciled with his family and the community he came from. He then soon became part of the team of young men we trained and discipled as teachers. And Gabi became one of the traveling teachers who would travel to other villages to teach and disciple believers. It’s about a 2 hours hike away and Gabi would hike multiple times to these villages each week.
It was during this time that I was told that Gabi actually suffers from epilepsy, which we think was due to damage after a bout of cerebral malaria. I was told that he has seizures, as many as 3 times per week! When I asked him about these, he explained that he would be hiking to one of these villages, have a seizure, wake up in the jungle and just go on. His family wanted him to stop, but he shared that God’s Word was too great to stop teaching. I remember how he shared that the joy of sharing Gods Word and seeing people saved and growing far exceeds the shame of having these seizures.
And so it has become true that Gabi is experiencing the ultimate joy of being united with Christ in a way that we can never imagine. A few months ago, after arriving in South Africa for our furlough, I got a message that Gabi has died. They suspect that he went to work in his garden, had a seizure and died. They only found his body late at night after he never returned home. Even though this was sad, the church rejoiced as one of the first Mengen believers entered heaven and as he is now united with the one they so dearly love, “E Rabgaliu”, the one who takes us back, our redeemer – Jesus!
I hope that Gabi’s story will encourage you to appreciate God’s grace and love for you as Gabi did. And also, to allow Gods love for you to compel you to a sanctified life and to show and share Christ with others.
Please pray that God will open up more doors for us to share the Good News with the Mengen people! Also pray for Itu, Gabi’s wife and their 3 kids.