I never expected where a request I received yesterday would lead me.
I was asked to do a little research for NTM’s CEO, Larry M. Brown, having to do with the mission’s history. That led me to an account from Bruce Porterfield, one of NTM’s pioneering missionaries who passed on to glory in summer 2012. Bruce went to Bolivia in 1950 – arriving with his wife, Edith, in the midst of a revolution.
In February 1951, Bruce, Dave Yarwood and Jim Ostweig set out to try to make contact with a people group living in the jungles of Bolivia. After several months of searching with no success, they literally ran into some of them while hunting turtle eggs. They gave them gifts, and the people disappeared back into the jungle.
The next month, September, they met more of them, and soon were making more regular contact. These encounters included bear hugs, painful horseplay and, once, one of the missionaries was choked until he almost passed out.
Yet sometimes they shared a meal with them. The missionaries learned some of their words, and discovered they were excellent mimics. The encounters seemed to be going so well that when the men needed more supplies, Dave did not want to leave.
“I’ll hang around here and keep up the contact,” he told Bruce. When Bruce told him they should all go, Dave insisted on staying.
After Bruce had spent a few days in town, a riverboat captain came by to tell him that three Brazilian government representatives had found a body. From the description, Bruce knew it was Dave.
Bruce and Jim returned to find the body, pierced by four arrows. They buried him and took back the few personal items of Dave’s that the people had not taken. Among them was his diary.
The last entry was from Dec. 4, believed to be the day before he died. Nine of the people had come to visit with him. “The atmosphere was friendly,” he wrote, and he learned a few more words of their language.
He closed with, “We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
So … what’s tomorrow hold? It’s unlikely you or I will face dying for God tomorrow. But that means we’ll face the challenge of living for Him. And I’m not sure that takes any less focus and dedication.
Tell us what you’re doing today so you can live for Him tomorrow. And then we’ll see what happens tomorrow.