Early mornings in Simbariland are a photographer’s paradise. Round houses seem to float in the fog while cooking fires push smoke up through the thatched roofs. Simbari women scurry to their early morning tasks, wearing unique bark capes. Little girls, their smaller capes wrapped tight against the cold, follow closely. At an early age they are taught to be a good Simbari wife.
On the ground reality hits hard. Rain soaks the clay soil 180 days a year. The slick clay sticks to everything and everyone. One moment you are standing on a trail and the next — BAM! — you are sitting on the trail, covered in clay. Staying upright is a challenge for the missionaries living and working among the Simbaris.
We were there to film the exciting process going on within the Simbari tribe. We had heard great things about this small band of believers. The mature church is growing and has sprung a leak! Yes, the Gospel message is spreading to other villages. What was one is now many.
God is using Simbari church leaders like Raymond to spread His message. With his education he could travel to the nearby town and get a better paying job, but Raymond has chosen to stay in his village to help missionaries translate the Scripture and see the church grow.
After one lengthy Sunday service, Raymond climbed three hours to the top of the clay-covered mountain behind his village to find a cell phone signal. At an appointed time he called fellow believers who live in town and over the phone taught that Sunday’s lesson from Ephesians.
God is building his church and it is going to take more than just the western missionaries to get the job done. In this issue of NTM@work you are going to read about tribal believers who have the courage it takes to leave the ordinary and step up to lead fellow believers into deeper maturity.
P.S. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how you have been inspired by these courageous men and women whose stories are in this issue.