Sometimes in support work, as you and I are in, we get busy and forget the impact the work that we do has. This past Sunday, one of our bush missionaries and his family came and shared with us an update on the work in their tribal areas. A village has had the Gospel and a well-established church for several years now. A few years ago, they sent missionaries of their own to reach another village in their tribe. Our missionaries have been working with the national missionaries to reach, teach and train the people of this other village who now have a good church with strong national leaders. Our missionaries have been continuing the work of translating the Bible into Dinangat as the nationals have taken over the leadership of their church and of the outreaches and teaching.
There have been efforts made into beginning literacy teaching (an in-road for the Gospel) in the largest village in this tribe a little ways from the second village work. The Big Men there do not want the teaching and are bringing heavy opposition against its coming. But there are many people there who want the literacy and Bible teaching and have been asking the men from the second village to come teach them and even gave them land on which to build the teaching house. Supplies were purchased and brought in, all ready for the building to start this week. But those opposing them came, burned all their supplies and crossed two logs in the road leading to the site, signifying that it is against the law to enter that land. Trespassers can be beaten or worse. But this has not stopped the Bible teachers. The people continue to invite them saying that they really want them to come and the teachers are determined to go. One of the teachers even offered to move his family to this village to make it easier to teach and reach the people there!
When the men asked the missionaries what role they would like to play in this outreach, the missionaries told them that they are willing to anything the Bible teachers would want them to do but that there would be no hard feelings should they not be needed. The Bible teachers said, “Good. You can come and sit and listen to us teach but that is all we want you to do. We will do the rest.” Praise the Lord for such growth and confidence in the faith! We’re seeing a third generation of the work being birthed!
And not only this, but NTM has just finished printing sections of the New Testament in Dinangat. The missionary said that he’d talked with other missionaries all excited about the first printed translations in their works’ languages and been excited for them but to look at it, it was just a book in a language that made no sense to him. However, with this printing he was seeing the Bible for the first time in his language group, one he could understand, one he and the others have worked faithfully on with years of effort gone into it, and he was on cloud nine! I think that must be the way this tribe feels this week as they celebrate having portions of the Bible in their own heart language for the first time ever! The missionary was so animated thinking about how excited the Bible teachers would be to have their own Bible in this language group to carry with them and sit down to read whenever they wanted! Again, I praise the Lord for His faithfulness!
Romans 6:21 asks the question, “What fruit had ye then…?” What fruit we have now from this work of the Lord! How great shall be the harvest!
I rejoiced and got all teary-eyed hearing all of this but the thing that struck me most was that we had corresponded with the missionaries on this team many times via email—answering questions, filling medications for them, sending them medical supplies—and that because we filled this need, they were able to meet the translation needs of the tribe. This translation comes from our work—you and I. Somehow God can take one small bit in one location and let it affect another small bit in another location and then lets us glimpse the greatness of all He’s done with our small bit! What a mighty God we serve!
Please pray for the Bible teachers and the people who want learn—for their safety and for their growth in the knowledge of God! And pray for the missionaries and the people working with them on the completion of the Bible translation—that they will remain healthy to be able to do the work, for their accuracy and finding the right words, and that God will show them solutions to the dilemmas that come up. Pray for those who still do not believe or have not heard that they will.