After a health home assignment, Wayne and Gail Chen are very excited and eager to return to their bush life among the Biem people in Papua New Guinea. This is a ministry task that they plan to resume in June.
Gail is anticipating the joy of discipling Biem sisters who she believes will come to Christ. Their daughters are enthusiastic, too, and “would start packing right now if they could,” Wayne writes.
Wayne himself is looking forward to, in just a few months, presenting the Gospel to the Biem people in their own language for the first time. “We have spent three years living with the Biem people, learning their culture and language, bandaging their wounds, mourning with them at funerals and simply sharing their life. Our biggest prayer is that, through all of these shared experiences, we have earned enough trust and credibility with our Biem friends to challenge their world views and animistic beliefs and to present God’s Story to them.”
Another major undertaking will be the beginning of a Biem Bible translation “so the Biem folks can read God’s Word for themselves,” Wayne adds. “We can’t just stand up and tell them ‘Jesus loves you.’ Who is Jesus? Who created the world? Who put this island in the middle of the ocean? Who makes my garden grow? Where do sickness and death come from? Where did my ancestors go when they died?”
These are pressing questions to the Biem people, questions that teaching from God’s Word will address. This summer, Wayne will be presenting God’s salvation story in the Firm Foundations series. And he looks forward to this teaching with joy and with great confidence in God’s help.
Wayne fondly remembers one night from their past time in the Biem village. He was working with his Biem friend and language helper, Aklu. They were working on the Biblical account of Noah and the flood.
Wayne prepared to share with Aklu that God decided to punish and destroy mankind by sending a big flood because everyone had sinned and turned their backs on God and “every inclination of the thoughts of the heart was only evil all the time.” Wayne wondered what feedback Aklu would give. He could imagine a reaction of “This is not fair—God cannot do this!”
But when Wayne finished explaining the passage to Aklu, his reaction was quite different. He paused for a minute and then responded, “We are all like that. The entire island is like those people in Noah’s time. Everyone is doing evil and no one is good.”
Wayne shares that when he thinks back on that encounter and how Aklu responded he is reminded that “God doesn’t need to be defended. He doesn’t need a publicist to put a spin on His character.” The memory also gives Wayne anticipation for what God’s Spirit will accomplish as the message of the Gospel is delivered to the Biem people in a few months.
“Would you start praying for the Biem people?” Wayne requests. “This awesome message will soon be declared on this island. Please pray that hearts will be opened and challenged and that many will trust Jesus as Saviour and Lord.”