Relearning and repairs greet missionaries


POSTED ON 2010-07-12
  by Ian Fallis





Dave and Melissa Williamson have survived the days of nanggomneggup and tornengge.

The Williamsons recently returned from a year of home assignment to a remote village to resume their work among the Arimtap people.

"We quickly relearned the phrase nanggomneggup, which means, ’We’ve forgotten,’" Melissa wrote. "We feel like we’re saying that about just about everything these days."

But as they work at it, "praise God, it’s all slowly coming back," she added.

"Another … phrase we’ve been using a lot is tornengge, or ’It’s become bad.’ In English we’d say, ’It’s broken,’" Melissa wrote.

The washing machine was broken. The generator wasn’t working properly. Their solar panels were not performing as they should have been. The water system needed repair. The charger for their power tools was broken, and Dave had to take apart, repair and reassemble his power tools.

"Thankfully, God’s provision is always perfect, though, and we’ve been able to fix or will be able to replace most of these things," Melissa wrote.

With those days mostly behind them, the Williamsons are moving ahead with learning the culture and language of the Arimtaps.

"We’ve enjoyed a few neat experiences already as we’re digging into their way of life," Melissa wrote. "Dave’s been hunting with some of the men and [I] gathered the materials and made a tharum, a traditional fishing basket with the ladies here. We are working really hard at catching up with old friends and working on strengthening our relationships with the Arimtap people."

Developing those relationships is also showing Dave and Melissa the fear and captivity the people live in.

"For instance, we’ve learned that a man whose wife has just had a baby is never allowed to ’break the ground’ (i.e. dig) because they believe the baby will get sick and die. We’ve also learned that when someone in a house gets sick and dies, that house is believed to be cursed and the family that lives there will no longer be visited by anyone in the village for fear that others will be cursed as well," Melissa wrote.

So one Arimtap family is living in a makeshift covered area because one of their children died.

"Here they are with a perfectly good house just down the hill from this temporary one, but they don’t use it," Melissa wrote. "They have abandoned it …. The rain pours in on them constantly and they are exposed to the critters and the elements all day and night in this temporary house, but their … beliefs won’t let them use the old house again due to fear."

Please continue to pray that the Arimtap people will be receptive to God’s message.

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