Dina and I have been listening to an artist Tauren Wells who is a popular contemporary Christian music artist. One of the songs that we like is Hills and Valleys, from his album Undefeated. “When I’m standing on the mountain, I didn’t get there on my own. When I’m walking through the valley I know that I am not alone. Your the God of the hills and valleys,”
For the people that we are working among, they have heard from their ancestors that the hills and valleys are the places where we can make contact with the spirits. There are special places in the valleys and hills that allow closer access to spirits and therefore are better for intercession and asking for things that we want.
Most of the modern tribal people will know that these things are true, yet they will deny that they really believe it. After living in this area for several years we have seen that the most modern person, complete with access to the internet, money, transportation, and higher education when difficulties come into their life it’s common to return to the “hills and valleys” for help.
One of the reasons that we have stayed on working in this area is to see the hand-full of believers God has raised up here, become grounded in their faith. We want to walk with them long enough that we can go through hard times together and consistently turn our eyes up, above the hills and valleys, to the God of the entire universe. The maker of heaven and earth. That they would be sustained by El Shaddai, which has the meaning, “God of the mountains.”
This past month we have had some hills and valleys of our own. Ups and downs in life and ministry. We are discouraged to see such in-consistency among the believers in the village where we are living. The weeds of life that take hold of the new believers and the pursuit(s) of other things takes over. Those weeds can be very beautiful in and of themselves, yet when you consider the negative impact they have on our growth in the things of the Lord, they are slow killers. Pray for these believers.
There are also hills. God is doing a work in the hearts of a study group in a neighboring village. Last week and this week we are finishing our foundational teaching. This week we will review and discuss the big picture message of salvation. Pray for the new believers in Silingan.
These people have been very consistent to gather and study. Last week we even had three of our regular guys come drunk. They didn’t want to miss the lesson. They were very talkative, which made for a lively meeting :). All in all this group has shown a real clarity on the gospel, and a desire to keep learning and growing.
Also we were able to baptize 3 more people from the village that we are living in. They are people who have studied with us for quite awhile now, yet recently have gained more clarity on the gospel and the meaning of baptism. One of the guys told me, “being put under water can kill a person. I am going under the water to show my identification with Jesus, in his death for me.”
We have also had some family hills and valleys. Last Christmas we got some repelling equipment and have recently gotten to use it on a big rock here in the area. It’s been fun to see Dina, and Abby overcome their fears and go over the edge.
We covet your prayers. We are feeling lonely, yet trusting in God’s sustaining presence.