"I kept praying, 'Lord guide my steps so I don't twist an ankle or fall down the mountain,'" said missionary Steve Manda.
He was traveling to a remote mountain village to accompany a Saluan Bible teacher on his teaching rounds.
Seventeen people had traveled in a packed van for 10 hours, and then boarded a ferry for another 11 hours. The next day they traveled by van for a couple of hours to reach a small group having a church service. Afterward the friendly Saluan believers brought snacks and coffee to the whole group.
Donning their back packs the next morning, they headed up the mountain toward the village. After two fairly easy hours, the going got rough as they traveled up and down steep hills and creek beds. Then they spent six hours along the river walking on softball-sized rocks. One of the Saluan believers took Steve's heavy pack and they patiently stopped and waited when he couldn't keep up.
Finally they reached a village about half-way up the mountain. They had a service in the evening to introduce the hikers to the church.
The next day Steve was invited to accompany a Saluan Bible teacher to visit a Saluan village further up the mountain. The people of that village had been resistant to Bible teaching for more than 20 years but are now eager to listen to the Saluan Bible teacher. The men traveled almost straight up until they reached 2600 feet. Steve's heart pounded as he struggled up the trail.
Finally they arrived at a small clearing with 15 ramshackle houses. That evening seven men gathered to hear God's Word. The Bible teacher taught about the Ten Commandments from the evangelistic Bible lesson series. Steve's tiredness melted away as he watched the people finally hearing God's Word in their language.
As the lesson concluded, the men slipped quietly into the jungle. They didn't want the spirits to know that they were listening to God's Word.